The new map will be based on a 14-day period and updated weekly by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

By Alison Fox
October 13, 2020
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People stand with suitcases at the check-in area of Düsseldorf Airport. Düsseldorf Airport is expecting a total of approximately 300,000 travellers by the end of the autumn holidays on Sunday, 25 October.
Fabian Strauch/picture alliance via Getty

The European Council announced Tuesday that the European Union will adopt a common color-coded map system to demonstrate its COVID-19 travel restrictions and coordinate travel accordingly as the pandemic continues to threaten its members.

The new map, which will be based on a 14-day period and updated weekly by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, will break down areas in red — for the highest risk — orange, and green, according to the Council, and recommend common rules for each by region, the European Council wrote.

“More coordination will increase transparency and predictability for citizens and businesses, and avoid fragmentation and disruption of services,” the Council's announcement read.

If someone is coming from a green area, for example, the EU said they should be able to travel freely. But if someone is coming from a red or orange area, a country would be able to require them to either quarantine or get tested upon arrival.

Red areas indicate more than 50 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of 4 percent or higher, or more than 150 cases per 100,000 people. For an area to be considered green, it must have fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people and a positive test rate of less than 4 percent.

Currently, many EU countries are experiencing high COVID-19 case numbers and would be classified under red or orange, according to The Associated Press.

“This new system will make things easier for citizens. I am glad that we found this solution together,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the AP.

The EU first recommended lifting restrictions on cross-border travel within EU countries on June 15, though several countries (including Italy) had begun to lift restrictions even earlier. That was followed by allowing travel from certain non-EU countries on July 1.

As of now, 11 non-EU nations are allowed to visit Europe, but the U.S. is not one of them.

Spain and France have notably seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases,  which has specifically lead to new restrictions like early closing times for bars and restaurants in Paris.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.