Air travel down, but some report crowding on board
Americans with a bad case of wanderlust may have to wait until later this summer to vacation abroad – and while some countries, including Spain, have announced target dates to reopen, the pickings will be slim for a while.
Parts of Mexico and the Caribbean have targeted dates in early to mid-June for reopening from coronavirus restrictions, and the Bahamas are planning to open July 1. But Europe will lag, opening first to other citizens of European Union and Schengen Area countries before welcoming international visitors at a later date.
At least one EU member nation has announced a target window, however: Spain‘s prime minister announced that his country will reopen to foreign tourists sometime in July, though he did not specify a date.
Iceland has said it will reopen its borders to foreign tourists on June 15, though there’s a catch: Visitors will either have to agree to be tested for COVID-19 or self-quarantine for two weeks.
It’s worth noting that the U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not rescinded or downgraded their travel warnings. The State Department’s global travel alert, first issued in March, is still in effect. For its part, the CDC still has its highest travel warning in effect for the United Kingdom, Ireland and most of Europe as well as China and Iran.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here’s an update on some of the countries that are most popular with American travelers:
When will the border open? Not until at least June 23, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday. He confirmed that his country’s land border with the U.S. will remain closed for an additional 30 days. Trudeau and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security made the announcement two days before the order closing the border to nonessetial travel was set to expire.
There’s a major loophole, though: The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa said the order does not apply to “air, rail, or sea travel at this time, but does apply to commuter rail and ferry travel.”
‘It was the right thing’: Trudeau announces extension of US-Canada border closure
“We’re going to be very, very careful about reopening any international travel, including in the United States, before we feel that it is time,” he said in April while announcing the previous extension.
What can travelers expect once they’re allowed in? Trudeau said Canada is “looking at stronger measures to make sure that we’re following up appropriately with people who come over” in order to prevent a second wave of infections.
When will the border open? On Tuesday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced that the land border with Mexico would remain closed through June 22.
But like the U.S.-Canadian closure order, the Mexican version does not apply to air, rail or sea travel, except for commuter rail and ferry travel.
Mexico said late last week that it would lift quarantine restrictions in less-affected regions starting Monday and begin reopening the rest of the country June 1. But on Saturday, the Ministry of Health recorded 2,500 new cases, the country’s largest spike to date.
When will it reopen its borders? Sometime between June 15 and July 1, according to a “tentative” estimate by the Aruba Tourism Authority. “The aforementioned reopening target date is subject to change as we may consider additional precautionary measures as needed,” it cautioned.
When will it reopen its borders? July 1, the island nation announced May 29 in a Ministry of Tourism & Aviation release. The date is tentative and subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, namely, if there is a “deterioration” in the country’s overall improvement.
When will it reopen its borders? Not until at least June 1, according to the latest bulletin from the Jamaican Tourist Board’s latest bulletin on April 30, which noted Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness had ordered the borders closed until the end of May.
When will it reopen its borders? Tourists are already welcome back in the U.S. territory.
What can tourists expect?According to Puerto Rico’s tourism board, all incoming commercial flights have been diverted to San Juan, where incoming guests must undergo a health screening upon arrival, including a brief interview and temperature check. Once admitted, all passengers are required to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they are symptomatic. In addition, an islandwide curfew remains in effect from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. through May 25.
When will it reopen its borders? Flights from the U.S. will be the first allowed back into the Eastern Caribbean island beginning June 4, its government said in its reopening plan.
Visitors must present certified proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of boarding their flight. Once there, they must wear face masks and practice social distancing.
U.S. Virgin Islands
When will it reopen its borders? Hopefully, by June 1, according to a May 18 press conference by Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., who said he’d been working on a rollout plan with the departments of tourism and health and other groups.
When will it reopen its borders? Greece will accept visitors as of June 15 but only from 29 countries. The Greek Tourism Ministry said travelers from the permitted countries will be able to enter on direct flights to Athens and to the northern city of Thessaloniki. Visitors will be subject to sample coronavirus testing.
“Our aim is to be able to welcome every tourist who has overcome their fear and has the ability to travel to our country,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Antenna television.
The 29 countries include: Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.
The list will be expanded on July 1 to include other countries, the ministry said.
When will it reopen its borders? Tourism minister Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir announced earlier this month that Iceland, which is part of the European Economic Area but not an EU member country, will begin easing restrictions on foreign tourists no later than June 15.
One condition of admission is that visitors must either be tested for coronavirus or spend two weeks in quarantine. However, citizens of countries that provide government records documenting a clean bill of health can opt to submit those instead, Reuters reported.
Regardless of which option visitors choose, they will be asked to download a contact-tracing app.
“Iceland’s strategy of large-scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far,” Gylfadottir told Reuters, explaining the country’s relatively low rate of infection and death as well as its quick rebound.
When will it reopen its borders? On Saturday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that the country would be open to international tourism starting in July, Madrid-based newspaper El Pais and Reuters reported.
“Spain needs tourism and tourism needs security,” Sanchez said.
According to The Financial Times, tourism accounts for 12% of Spain’s gross domestic product. It welcomes 80 millions tourists each year.
When will it reopen its borders? Italy, which is one of the European countries hit hardest by the coronavirus, will relax its border restrictions on June 3. At that time, Italians can travel between regions or to other European Union countries and the United Kingdom, and citizens of those countries can travel to Italy.
When will it reopen its borders? French citizens can travel within a 100-kilometer (62 mile) radius of where they live, but for now, its borders remain closed.
When will it reopen its borders? Germany continues to restrict entry to non-European Union citizens through at least June 15.
When will the rest of Europe reopen its borders? Not until after June 15 and probably later than that for non-EU citizens.
Earlier this month, the European Union proposed that Schengen Area members and associated countries keep their borders closed to non-EU nationals until June 15 so they could continue to coordinate the continent’s response to the pandemic. Nearly all of the 30 countries involved have adopted the proposal.
In mid-April, the European Union Commission presented a phased roadmap that will first restore free movement between member countries and then relax external border restrictions during the second stage.
Good news for British citizens yearning to travel: The EU also said that citizens of the United Kingdom will continue to be treated as EU citizens until the end of the transition period and would be able to travel once internal borders are relaxed.
Beginning June 8, travelers can enter the UK, but they must provide contact information and self-isolate for 14 days, or face fines.
When will the border open? Not for at least three more months, according to an April 23 statement by the country’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy. And the only mention of international travel in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s reopening plan comes in the final stage, when the country will consider allowing in other Pacific islanders and international students.
When will the border open? The country where the pandemic began in December briefly reopened its borders to non-citizens before closing them again in late March due to an influx of new cases. It has not said when it plans to relax those restrictions.
Contributing: Associated Press
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