The European Union (EU) remained closed to U.S. travelers this past month despite borders opening up to residents from other countries as of late June. In response to the steady increase of reported COVID-19 cases within U.S. borders, the EU extended the original July 1st travel ban suspension noting epidemiological factors as the justification. The travel ban surfaced mid-March and constituted a pause on all nonessential travel both internally and externally. Despite internal borders opening up mid-June, the EU withheld non-EU countries until July.
The reopening has the hopes of amplifying tourism and repairing the weakened industry from the constraints and trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism accounts for nearly 10% of the EU’s economy, making this transition a potentially large economic component for the European travel industry. As the EU continues to ban U.S. travelers in response to rising COVID-19 cases, many questions remain regarding the future of international and even domestic travel within the United States.
Despite the ban that is still in effect, some exceptions have been permitted for essential travelers including political, medical and returning domestic travelers, lending some countries to adopt independent quarantine and travel policies. However, these exceptions also hold weight as the risk of internal travel bans could be a reality if the EU ban is not held seriously.
Additionally, the U.S. travel ban on European nations that was set into effect in March has also not lifted restrictions, despite a decreased report of European COVID-19 cases. These mutual bans draw many considerations and uncertainty regarding the travel ban lift on U.S. and EU nations. Although no nationwide domestic travel ban currently prevails, rising cases project a curious sentiment and conversation considering future internal travel bans within the U.S.
Sources: Eurostat, U.S. Dept. of State