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 have announced target dates to reopen, the pickings will be slim for a while.
Parts of the Caribbean have targeted dates in mid-June for reopening from coronavirus restrictions, but Europe will lag. It will open first to other citizens of European Union plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein 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It’s worth noting that the U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not rescinded or downgraded their travel warnings.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, Brazil 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? Americans and Canadians won’t be able to cross the border in either direction for nonessential travel until at least July 21.
What can travelers expect once they’re allowed in? There’s a major loophole in the border-closure policy: 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.”
According to the Canadian Border Services Agency, anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident of that country must prove they are traveling for an essential purpose, are only transiting or are an immediate family member of a citizen or permanent resident. They must also have a plan to quarantine for 14 days, unless exempted.
‘It was the right thing’: Trudeau announces extension of US-Canada border closure
Prime Minister Justin 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? Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced that the border with Mexico would remain closed until at least July 21.
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.
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?Prime Minister Mia Motley announced in a news conference June 26 that borders will reopen on July 1 and the airport will resume normal operations on July 12. Travelers from outside the Caribbean are required to take a COVID-19 PCR Antigen test 72 hours before arrival.
When will it reopen its borders? Jamaica’s tourism board said the Caribbean island will welcome back international tourists beginning June 15.
What can tourists expect? Visitors will be checked for fever and coronavirus symptoms and those exhibiting either may be subject to additional screening, including a COVID-19 test. Any visitor who shows symptoms may be required to quarantine. The tourism board says its health protocols will be reviewed biweekly.
Starting July 10, travelers from New York, Florida, Arizona and Texas will need to register for a travel authorization on the visitjamaica.com website and upload a negative COVID-19 test taken within 10 days of travel in order to obtain permission to enter the country.
When will it reopen its borders? Tourists are already being welcomed back in this U.S. territory.
What can tourists expect? Starting July 15, all passengers have to wear a mask and must take a molecular test 72 hours prior to their arrival. The test results must be submitted to officials at the airport. Travelers who test positive for the virus or refuse to hand over results or do not yet have results available will be forced into a two-week quarantine. During that time, they have to undergo a molecular test and share the results if they want to be released from quarantine, said Puerto Rico Health Secretary Lorenzo González.
The French territory will reopen to international tourists beginning June 22, according to its Facebook page. However, in order to enter the island, visitors will need to schedule a RT-PCR Covid-19 test and provide a negative result within 72 hours of arrival. Alternately, they can opt to be tested within 24 hours upon arrival and maintain strict quarantine for until their test comes back negative. Visitors who stay beyond seven days must undergo a second test. Anyone who tests positive will be moved to the quarantine center near the Stade de St Jean for monitoring.
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.
When will it reopen its borders? St. Maarten will reopen to travelers from the United States on July 15. Travelers from Canada and Europe are already welcome.
What can tourists expect? All passengers must take a COVID-19 test with proof of a negative result no more than 72 hours before arrival. Children who are 10 or younger do not need to take a COVID-19 test. Travelers also must fill out a health declaration form.
Additionally, all arriving and departing passengers must wear a face mask inside the airport at all times, and all travelers will be subject to a mandatory temperature check on arrival. Passengers showing symptoms will have to take a COVID-19 test, at additional cost to the traveler.
Turks & Caicos
When will it reopen its borders?According to its official tourism site, the British territory will reopen its borders to international visitors beginning July 22. At that point, Providenciales International Airport and private jet terminals will reopen and partner airlines will resume commercial service from the U.S., Canada and Europe. However, the Grand Turk Cruise Center will remain closed until August 31, subject to guidance from relevant health authorities.
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.
Although European Union countries reopened to international travelers on July 1, it has barred Americans from entering for the time being due to this country’s high COVID-19 infection rate. However, Canadian and Mexican citizens are being allowed in.
EU officials determined which countries’ visitors will be allowed by looking at the trend in new infections, testing capacity, contact tracing and other steps countries have taken to contain the virus outbreak inside their borders, Kasper Zeuthen, a senior media adviser for the EU’s delegation to the U.S., told USA TODAY last week.
Adalbert Jahnz, a spokesman for the European Commission in Brussels, the EU’s executive branch, told USA TODAY this week that lists would likely be reviewed every two weeks as new information about coronavirus trends in different countries becomes apparent.
Here are more details about specific countries’ plans:
When will it reopen its borders? Austria plans to accept visitors from European countries except Sweden, Britain, Portugal and Spain on June 16.
According to the country’s official tourism site, visitors entering Austria from other Schengen treaty countries must submit a medical certificate showing a negative COVID-19 test that was issued in the last four days. Tourists from outside the EU still may not fly into Austria for the time being.
Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also said Wednesday that the border with Italy to the south would be open without conditions, but warned Austrian citizens not to travel to Lombardy. The northern Italian region has been the epicenter of Italy’s epidemic, showing triple-digit growth in daily infections while much of the rest of the country counts a handful or fewer.
Austria’s reluctance to open its shared border with Italy, which opened its borders on June 3, has been a sore spot between the neighbors, especially as the summer tourism season gets underway.
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.
Asia and the South Pacific
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.
Bali started putting together its reopening plan for tourism, including allowing foreign tourists beginning Sept. 11.
Foreign travelers arriving in Cambodia need to pay a $3,000 deposit after getting to the airport to cover COVID-19 testing in addition to potential treatment (with more specifics on the financial details here).
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.
When will the border open? The Government of India passed a new order June 26, stating that air travel to and from India will be suspended until July 15, 2020 at midnight India Standard Time.
When will the border open? In a statement posted to its website on June 23, the Maldives’ Ministry of Tourism shared that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has decided to reopen the Maldives’ borders on July 15.
The ministry also released lengthy guidelines for restarting tourism in the country, including policies for airports, resorts and guest houses.//END OF NEW
“We will now put in place a new requirement to test all incoming travelers on top of the stay-at-home notice requirement that is already in place,” he said on June 15.
Wong saidtravelers must bear the cost of their own tests, stating “up to now, the cost of tests and the cost of stay-home notice facilities have been borne by the government. But looking ahead, as we reopen for more travel, we will want to move to a more sustainable position.”
When will the border open? Commercial flights will be allowed again in Rwanda on August 1.
As of June 17, Rwanda has been open for tourism and international travel can resume for charter flights.
“Rwanda’s tourism industry is adapting to create a safe environment for travelers and operators, in order to thrive in these unprecedented times,” Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer at Rwanda Development Board said in a statement. “We encourage all travel enthusiasts and nature explorers to take advantage of this unique opportunity to venture out and experience the beauty and adventure that our country has to offer.”
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
When will it reopen its borders? Dubai opened its borders to international travelers on July 7.
What can tourists expect? In order to travel, tourists must take a COVID-19 test within 96 hours of their flight and show the airline a negative result, according to its official tourism site. Otherwise, they will be tested on arrival and required to isolate while awaiting the results, which travelers say typically takes a few hours.
Travelers must also have health insurance covering COVID-19 or sign a declaration agreeing to cover the costs of treatment and isolation. They are also required to register their travel details in an app.
Contributing: Jenna Ryu, Charles Trepany and David Oliver, USA TODAY; Associated Press
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