Covid-19’s Delta variant is proliferating worldwide threatening unvaccinated populations and economic recovery.
The Council of the European Union recommended Monday, August 30, 2021, that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the United States because of rising coronavirus infections.
The recommendation is nonbinding, meaning individual countries will be allowed to decide if they still wish to allow US visitors with proof of vaccination, negative tests, or quarantine.
“Nonessential travel to the E.U. from countries or entities not listed (…) 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 E.U. for fully vaccinated travelers.”
The E.U. also removed Montenegro, Lebanon, Kosovo, Israel, and North Macedonia from the list.
France, Spain, Italy, and Belgium also require some kind of test to show the traveler has Covid antibodies or proof of vaccination. But none have imposed quarantine rules.
The European Council updates the safe travel list based on criteria relating to coronavirus infection levels. It gets reviewed every two weeks. The threshold for being on the E.U. list is having not more than 75 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.
Last week in the U.S. new coronavirus cases averaged over 152,000 a day, turning the clock back to the end of January, and the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients was around 85,000, a number not seen since early February.
More than 15 million Americans a year visited Europe before the coronavirus crisis, and new travel restrictions could cost Europe billions.
The United States has yet to reopen its own borders to EU tourists, despite calls from the bloc for the Biden administration to lift its ban.
The EU lists 17 countries as safe, including Canada, Japan, and New Zealand.