Air travel down, but some report crowding on board
Americans with a bad case of wanderlust may have to wait to vacation abroad – and while some countries have reopened or announced target dates to reopen, the pickings may be slim for a while.
Parts of the Caribbean and Europe have reopened from coronavirus restrictions, but the European Union extended its travel ban on Americans.
The EU first started lifting international travel restrictions on July 1, welcoming visitors from 14 countries, including Canada, South Korea and Australia. The U.S. was left off that initial list, and Americans remain barred from visiting the bloc.
It’s worth noting that the U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not rescinded or downgraded their travel warnings.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 much 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 Aug. 21, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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
When will the border open? Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced that theland border with Mexico would remain closed until at least Aug. 20.
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? According to the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, the country announced on July 23 that it will will welcome tourists from flights originating from Frankfurt, Germany and Madrid starting Aug. 1. The country has yet to announce when it will welcome commercial flights again from the United States.
What can tourists expect? Passengers entering Costa Rica from an approved flight must present negative COVID-19 test results taken within the last 48 hours and purchase insurance covering accommodations for quarantine and hospitalization, should they get sick. Passengers must also complete digital epidemiological forms, available in multiple languages.
When will it reopen its borders? Borders are closed for general travel until at least Oct. 31.
According to the U.K. government, those allowed in may be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival in Anguilla, and those allowed in will have to self-quarantine for 14 days in a government-run or government-approved quarantine facility. This rule applies to Anguillans, people with Anguilla resident status or holders of valid work permits.
As of July 31, however, visitors from regions with active cases of less than 0.2% of their population can travel to Anguilla, though they must follow protocols and quarantine rules.
Other exceptions to this rule are for medical emergencies and evacuations, which must be approved by the Chief Medical Officer; people looking to leave the country; and repatriation of Anguillians from areas with active cases of less than 0.2% of their populations. These people also need to follow protocols and quarantine rules.
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? After announcing that it would reopen to tourists starting July 1, the country announced on July 19 that it would close its borders to the United States starting July 22. According to a release, commercial flights and vessels from the U.S. are prohibited, while private flights and charters, as well as pleasure craft and yachts, are permitted.
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? According to a press release published July 22, the Cayman Islands will begin a phased reopening to tourists starting Sept. 1
What can tourists expect? The British Overseas Territory is collaborating with BioIntelliSense, a U.S.-based biotech company that produces medical-grade sensors for continuous health screenings. These sensors, called BioButtons, can passively monitor arriving passengers’ heart rates, respiratory rates and skin temperature for symptoms of COVID-19.
In the first phase of reopening, visitors and returning residents must register for permission to travel on a government-arranged repatriation flight or by private air. All passengers over the age of 10 must provide results of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of traveling.
Eligible travelers can choose to wear a BioButton and self-isolate in their choice of residence for five days, before taking a second PCR test. If negative, they must continue wearing a BioButton for nine more days, but they will not be required to self-isolate. Those who choose not to wear a BioButton must quarantine in a government-managed facility for 14 days.
When will it reopen its borders? According to a press release issued July 21, Dominica will reopen its borders to international travelers Aug. 7 — so long as travelers comply with a lengthy list of health and safety protocols.
What can tourists expect? All passengers must submit a health questionnaire at least 24 hours prior to their arrival in Dominica and show notification of clearance to travel. They must also submit a negative PCR test result recorded within 24 to 72 hours before their arrival. Upon arriving, passengers must wear face masks at all times up to and including departure from the airport, follow physical-distancing guidelines, practice good respiratory and personal sanitization, and obey the instructions of health care staff and officials.
As part of the disembarkation process, arriving passengers must also sanitize their hands, undergo a health assessment that includes a temperature check, provide confirmation of their health questionnaires and negative PCR test results, and undergo test screening with a negative result.
When will it reopen its borders? According to a government statement on July 7, Grenada will accept commercial flights from other Caribbean countries deemed low-risk starting July 15. On Aug. 1, the country will accept international flights from medium-risk countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries in the European Union. It has not indicated when it will welcome Americans.
For countries not mentioned in the statement, only chartered flights will be accommodated until further notice.
When will it reopen its borders? Jamaica’s tourism board said the Caribbean island began welcoming back international tourists beginning July 15.
What can tourists expect? While all tourists must complete an online travel authorization form and undergo a health screening, those coming from high-risk states such as Arizona, Florida, New York, and Texas must also upload a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 10 days of arrival in Jamaica.
In a press release, Jamaica’s Tourist Board also warned that travelers from areas deemed not to be high-risk may still be subject to testing. In addition, it said, “Those with negative results – as well as those who do not require testing – must adhere to the Stay in Zone order, which requires persons to remain at their hotel or resort within the Resilient Corridor for the duration of their stay. Those who are screened and assessed and show symptoms upon arrival will be subject to swab testing and must quarantine in their hotel room until test results are available.”
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. were allowed back into the Eastern Caribbean island as of June 4, its government said in its reopening plan. American Airlines confirmed it sent its first plane there on July 9.
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 has extended its ban on Americans another two weeks, meaning U.S. citizens won’t be able to visit until at least Aug 1. 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.
Greek authorities say incoming travelers arriving at the country’s land border with Bulgaria will have to carry a negative COVID-19 test results issued within the previous 72 hours.
The measure will take effect on July 14 following an increase in cases involving tourists traveling by land to Greece from mostly Balkan countries.
Greece started its tourism season on June 15 and expanded international flights to its regional airports on July 1.
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.
Much of Europe may not be welcoming Americans, but Croatia allows American tourists as of July 1.
“As of July 1, 2020, all EU/EEA nationals and individuals holding permanent residence in the EU/EEA countries can enter Croatia freely, without restrictions,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Croatia. “All other foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, may enter Croatia for business, tourism, or other pressing personal reasons, if they provide relevant proof.”
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? The Jordanian government says it will begin reopening airports to international travelers in August after sealing its borders in March.
Travelers from a list of approved, low-risk countries must pass a coronavirus test at least 72 hours before departure and will get a second test upon arrival in Jordan, Transportation Minister Khaled Saif says.
What can tourists expect? Jordan will require incoming tourists to download Aman, the government’s contact-tracing mobile application, for the duration of their stay in the country.
When will the border open? The island, located off the southern tip of India, reopened on July 15.
What can tourists expect? According to the Maldives’ official tourism site, visitors need:
- A confirmed booking at a registered lodging establishment
- Proof of sufficient funds
- Confirmed return ticket
- Completed Health Declaration Form to be filled out twice: 24 hours before your flight to the Maldives and once more before you depart from the Maldives.
- On-arrival visas (free for 30 days)
Their website also notes that all tourists will undergo a temperature check upon arrival and may be chosen for a random, voluntary and free COVID-19 PCR test. And while quarantine is not required for anyone who does not display COVID-19 symptoms, masks are mandatory at the airport, during domestic travel and in all enclosed public spaces.
“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 it reopen its borders? Morocco announced earlier this month that it would start gradually reopening its air and maritime borders after one of the world’s strictest border lockdowns, which trapped tourists inside the country and left thousands of Moroccans stranded abroad and unable to come home.
Only Moroccan citizens and expatriates living in Morocco will be allowed to travel in the first stage of the reopening starting July 14, according to a government statement on July 9. Passengers are required to present both a PCR virus test taken within fewer than 48 hours of the flight, as well as an antibody test, before boarding planes heading for Morocco.
When will it reopen its borders? 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. However, passengers entering Rwanda must present two negative COVID-19 RT-PCR tests. According to the Rwanda Development Board, one test must be taken within 72 hours of departure, and they must take a second COVID-19 test before visiting tourist attractions. Those who can’t test in their origin countries can get tested twice in Rwanda .
“If the passenger has performed the 1st test within 72 hours before arrival and has a COVID-19 PCR valid negative testing certificate, he/she will stay in the designated hotel for 24 hours waiting for the PCR results of the 2nd test that is performed upon arrival,” Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure tweeted Monday.
“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.”
When will it reopen its borders? The U.S. Embassy in Dakar has confirmed that the west African nation will reopen to international travel on July 15. However, the country’s land and sea borders will remain closed until future notice.
What can tourists expect? “Despite the end of the State of Emergency in Senegal, some leisure facilities will remain closed indefinitely due to social distancing measures, and markets will remain closed once per week for cleaning,” the embassy website advised. “Use of facial coverings remains mandatory in public and private offices, public places and markets, and on public transportation.”
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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