Europe Releases Plan to Reopen Borders Ahead of Summer Tourist Season

Europe Releases Plan to Reopen Borders Ahead of Summer Tourist Season
© NurPhoto/Getty Tourists from outside of Europe will not be able to enter the continent until at least June 15.

By Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure

The European Union has planned to begin lifting travel restrictions in time for its summer tourism season in a “phased and coordinated approach.”

“As soon as the health situation allows, people should be able to catch up with friends and family, in their own EU country or across borders, with all the safety and precautionary measures needed in place,” the European Commission said in a press release Wednesday.

The phased opening will begin by first allowing seasonal workers to travel across borders. Then borders will open between countries with “similar epidemiological situations,” based on guidance from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Commission announced. Finally, all internal borders in the EU will open if all goes accordingly.

The Commission also provided guidelines checking IDs at borders, preparing health protocols at hotels and safety for transportation like airlines, ferries and buses.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced in a tweet that the country would begin loosening borders “with Switzerland, Liechtenstein and neighboring countries in Eastern Europe, provided the infection numbers allow it.”

In the first phases of reopening, travel restrictions will vary by country. For example, the UK has agreed to bilateral travel arrangements with France and Ireland, according to The BBC. Travelers from these countries can cross borders without needing a 14-day quarantine. But quarantine will be necessary for travelers headed to or from other European countries.

Tourists from outside of Europe will not be able to enter the continent until at least June 15. And they may have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, depending on arrangements with their origin country.
© NurPhoto/Getty Tourists from outside of Europe will not be able to enter the continent until at least June 15.
© Provided by Travel + Leisure THOMAS COEX/Getty

“This is not going to be a normal summer, not for any of us. But when we all work together, and we all do our part ... then we don’t have to face a summer stuck at home or a complete lost summer for the European tourist industry,” Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said, according to The Associated Press.

Several European countries are working on developing contact-tracing apps. When borders open, the data from these apps will have to expand to work across multiple countries.

About 150,000 people have died from coronavirus in Europe and the UK this year.

Germany announced that it would begin to reopen its borders this week. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced that on May 16, travel restrictions will be eased to France, Switzerland and Austria, according to DW. Border controls will remain in place but patrol will perform only random checks. But if the coronavirus situation worsens, the borders will close again even after the June 15 opening date.

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