Europe Lifts Many Border Restrictions, but U.S. Tourists Will Have to Wait to Visit (Video)
Borders between European countries largely reopened on Monday after months of lockdowns due to the contagious coronavirus, but tourists from the U.S. will have to wait a bit longer.
While the European Union said countries within the Schengen area should lift their border controls, it also recommended non-essential travel into the EU be postponed until at least July 1.
“Given that the health situation in certain third countries remains critical, the Commission does not propose a general lifting of the travel restriction at this stage,” the European Union wrote in a statement last week.
In order to facilitate a July 1 reopening, the European Union Commission said member states “should agree on a common list of non-EU countries” that would be allowed based on several factors, including the COVID-19 situation there as well as if that country has lifted its travel restrictions on the EU.
As of now, the group recommended lifting travel restrictions on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia on July 1.
“International travel is key for tourism and business, and for family and friends reconnecting,” Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said in a statement. “While we will all have to remain careful, the time has come to make concrete preparations for lifting restrictions with countries whose health situation is similar to the EU's and for resuming visa operations.”
The guidance comes as several European countries have reopened their borders. Italy, once the epicenter for COVID-19 in Europe, opened its international borders to European travelers earlier this month, becoming the first country on the continent to do so.
“We have got the pandemic under control, [but] the reopening of our frontiers is a critical moment,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told The AP. “The threat is still real. The virus is still out there.”
Switzerland, part of the Schengen area, has also lifted its border restrictions for European travelers and implemented a “Clean & Safe” campaign to offer tourists peace of mind.