On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, the EU released its plans for reopening travel in Europe this upcoming Summer. Europe, perhaps the most visited continent for tourists, has been under a travel ban since March. Finally, some good news is emerging, and slowly, things are coming back to normal.
In the EU, many countries are reopening and relaxing their lockdown due to COVID-19. Also, each country gets to determine if and how they will reopen their borders. Further, it’s up to each region, and to a smaller degree, municipalities to all agree on the reopening rules. As a result, each country will have different rules and timelines. We researched the following countries, and this is what we know so far.
The EU Country With a Specific Date of Reopening All Travel
It looks as though Greece might be the very first country in Europe with plans (and a date) for reopening travel. Indeed, Greece plans to reopen travel effective June 1, 2020 – unless there’s a meaningful change in the COVID-19 situation.
Furthermore, Greece has laid out a plan to test everyone for COVID-19, regardless of where they are from (Europe, or International).
To be sure, tourism in Greece will likely be different than in previous years. For example, with social distancing being top of mind, bars and nightclubs will be off-limits.
But, getting to Greece will be another challenge. Currently, there are few scheduled international flights to Greece.
Countries Who Will Reopen to Domestic Travel as Soon as Possible
Germany has been fortunate to have been able to deal with the COVID-19 virus far better than other countries. Further, Germany and Austria are Europe’s first two countries that have immediate plans for reopening their borders for travel. Notably, Germany is pushing to reopen all EU borders by June 15, 2020 – if the COVID-19 numbers support it.
Currently, travel to Germany is closed to non-EU residents. However, as long as the COVID-19 numbers continue in the current direction, tourism will open fast.
Italy has been famous for being the worst, if not the 2nd worst country hit with the COVID-19 virus. Their lockdown has been long and strict. However, it seems to have been working well. Now, the governments are working on balancing safety with the reopening of the economy, and tourism makes up a big part of it!
The federal government expects Italy to reopen for tourism this Summer. Currently, the boarders are closed to non-essential travel. However, the Italian government is eager to reopen the border as soon as it’s safe.
The lockdown will move into Phase III on May 18, 2020, following weeks of encouraging COVID-19 news. Museums will open next week, along with virtually all other businesses (subject to some exceptions, i.e., Milan).
Interestingly, the island of Sicily has unveiled a plan to offer subsidized holidays to travelers.
However, like other EU countries, it’s borders remain closed, for now.
Europe’s Countries With Just Domestic Travel Plans
The Danish government has indicated a willingness to reopen their borders. However, the government is being cautious. As a result, there are no current plans for reopening travel.
Interestingly, Sweden was the (likely) the only EU country that did not lockdown. However, their borders have also been closed, and currently, no plans are in place to resume tourism.
Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries for COVID-19. Naturally, their lockdown has been among the strictest in the EU. As a result, its understandable that they are exercising extreme caution when it comes to reopening travel in this European country.
At this time, Spain has no plans to reopen its borders to non-Spanish travelers. For citizens and residents of Spain who will be traveling to the beach, social distancing will be the key. Beaches will be open, but sunbeds will be far further apart than usual. And perhaps even, strict guidelines on the number of guests allowed on the beach at any one time.
COVID-19 has hit France hard. As a result, there are no plans to reopen international travel to France any time soon.
Currently, anyone who enters France from a Non-EU or UK country is subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Indeed, domestic tourism in France will likely be on the rise in the Summer of 2020.
Portugal is closed for tourism in 2020. Their government has enacted a “Don’t Cancel, Postpone” scheme. Like France, tourism within Portugal appears to be limited to just domestic travel.
While not in the EU, Switzerland plans to reopen its borders in Mid-May. Domestic tourism will likely be permitted, once again, around the same time.
However, travel will be limited to Swiss citizens or residents until further notice.
If You Don’t Mind a Mandatory 14-day Quarantine, These Countries Are For You
Croatia is not technically closed for travel. However, anyone entering Croatia will likely have to self-isolate, or may even be subject to a mandatory 14 day quarantine period, in a Croatian government facility, at the expense of the traveler. These measures are in effect until June 15, 2020.
Interestingly, the UK is starting to lift its lockdown restrictions, and at the same time, just enacted a mandatory 14 day quarantine period for visitors. These rules have put a damper on any return to normal for the foreseeable future.
Hotels anticipate opening as early as July. However, domestic travel will likely be the flavor of 2020.
Conclusion: What do Europe’s Plans for Reopening Travel Mean to You?
In conclusion, international travel to Europe this Summer is likely going to be limited to mainland Greece.
Europeans will, to some degree, be able to travel within most, if not all, the Schengen countries. However, those coming from further away will either not be able to, or, will be subject to COVID-19 testing on arrival, or perhaps even mandatory quarantine.
In case you’d like to watch the video, here it is:
Rick & Andrea
In March 2017, Rick and Andrea started Travel Addicts Life as a way to share their travel photos and videos with the world. And boy did it ever grow! Today, we are proud to offer content here on Travel Addicts Life, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.
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Rick & Andrea