European countries are planning to ease restrictions for foreign tourists this summer, according to a new development decided on Wednesday.
Bloomberg reported, “Ambassadors from the EU’s 27 member states backed a proposal to waive quarantine for those with coronavirus inoculations approved by its drug regulator, including shots from Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. The approval could be finalized this week and implemented soon after.”
The outlet reported that two officials familiar with the situation said that travelers who are not vaccinated can also travel without quarantining if they are coming from countries that have control over COVID-19, which reportedly means a 14-day new-case rate of less than 75 per 100,000.
The member states in the bloc can still decide which restrictions on travel to ease and the timeline on which to do so. An “emergency brake” strategy was also suggested in order to permit the member countries to temporarily slow down all travel from countries with coronavirus variants of concern, spokesperson for the European Commission, Christian Wigand, said.
The move comes as countries begin to reopen for summer travel and certain tourist-heavy nations anticipate an increase in economic activity in the warmer months. It is also expected to give the airline industry a bump as tourists make summer plans after a year of lockdowns and restrictions.
The European Travel Commission reported that 2020 was the worst year for international arrivals to Europe in over 30 years. The report showed, “All reporting European destinations record declines in arrivals between 51%-85%, 1 in 3 declining between 70%-79%,” and “92% of business travellers expect their company to experience negative outcomes due to travel restrictions.”
The New York Times released a detailed examination into six of the most popular destinations on the continent for tourists. In France, President Emmanuel Macron has announced that, starting on June 9, visitors arriving from outside of Europe will be permitted to come into the country if they have a pass sanitaire (health pass), details of which have not yet been announced.
Visitors from the U.S. and other non-European nations that are deemed low risk (Japan, Canada, Australia, and Singapore) can reportedly travel to Italy, but need to provide both a coronavirus test and go through a 10-day-quarantine. “Americans avoid the quarantine if they take special ‘Covid-tested flights’ that require taking a test both before and after the flight, and submitting an E.U. digital passenger locator form,” per the outlet.
Greece, one of the E.U. member states, welcomed back foreign visitors last week — including American travelers — without the requirement to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test.
The European Union is also reportedly developing a “Digital Green Certificate.” The official website of the E.U. explained that the certificate “will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has received a negative test result or has recovered from COVID-19 that can be used across all EU Member States. It can also be introduced in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway as well as Switzerland. The Digital Green Certificate will also be open to initiatives being developed globally.”
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