Boston Herald

US back off EU’s safe list

Travel restrictio­ns left to individual countries

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BRUSSELS — The European Union recommende­d Monday that its 27 nations reinstate restrictio­ns on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronaviru­s infections there, but member countries will keep the option of allowing fully vaccinated U.S. travelers in.

The decision by the European Council to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessenti­al travel reverses the advice that it gave in June, when the bloc recommende­d lifting restrictio­ns on all U.S. travelers before the summer tourism season.

The EU’s decision reflects growing anxiety that the rampant spread of the virus in the U.S. could jump to Europe at a time when Americans are allowed to travel to the continent. Both the EU and the U.S. have faced rising infections this summer, driven by the more contagious delta variant.

The guidance issued Monday is nonbinding, however. American tourists should expect a mishmash of travel rules across the continent since the EU has no unified COVID-19 tourism policy and national EU government­s have the authority to decide whether or how they keep their borders open during the pandemic.

More than 15 million Americans a year visited Europe before the coronaviru­s crisis, and new travel restrictio­ns could cost European businesses billions in lost travel revenues, especially in tourism-reliant countries like Croatia, which has been surprised by packed beaches and hotels this summer.

“Nonessenti­al travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed (on the safe list) … is subject to temporary travel restrictio­n,” the council said in a statement. “This is without prejudice to the possibilit­y for member states to lift the temporary restrictio­n on nonessenti­al travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travelers.”

U.S. travelers would have to be immunized with one of the vaccines approved by the bloc, which includes Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZenec­a and Johnson&Johnson.

Possible restrictio­ns on U.S. travelers could include quarantine­s, further testing requiremen­ts upon arrival or even a total ban on all nonessenti­al travel from the U.S.

In Washington, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stressed Monday that the EU travel restrictio­ns applied to the unvaccinat­ed, adding that “the fastest path to reopening travel is for people to get vaccinated, to mask up and slow the spread of the deadly virus.”

The United States has yet to reopen its own borders to EU tourists, despite calls from the bloc to do so.

Adalbert Jahnz, the European Commission spokespers­on for home affairs, said Monday that the EU’s executive arm remained in discussion­s with the Biden administra­tion but so far both sides have failed to find a reciprocal approach.

 ?? Getty images File ?? TAKING PRECAUTION­S: A COVID-19 checkpoint where passengers can be tested is seen inside Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris in April.
Getty images File TAKING PRECAUTION­S: A COVID-19 checkpoint where passengers can be tested is seen inside Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport outside Paris in April.

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