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EU expected to recommend restrictions on US travelers as delta variant spreads

Date: August 30, 2021

By Victoria M. Walker, The Points Guy

The European Union is expected to announce a recommendation that member states reimplement travel restrictions for U.S. visitors, according to The New York Times.

The move is the result of the continued spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The recommendation, which is not mandatory, would mean the U.S. would be removed from the EU’s “safe list.”

The EU reopened to fully vaccinated American tourists in June. U.S. travelers could avoid mandatory quarantine by showing a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination. If countries decided to reimpose restrictions, U.S. travelers would be subjected to some of the same entry requirements as non-safe list countries, such as testing and quarantine. The EU is also recommending banning nonessential travel from the U.S., which would almost certainly include restrictions on tourism.

Restrictions will likely further hurt the EU’s travel sector, already reeling from the pandemic — especially as the U.S. remains shut to much of Europe.

The EU reopened to fully vaccinated American tourists, hoping for an influx of eager travelers this summer. European countries particularly reliant on tourism reopened their borders to vaccinated U.S. citizens early on, including IcelandFranceSpainCroatiaPortugal and Greece. But individual member nations can decide when to relax — or tighten — border restrictions. Travelers must be fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved in the EU, which include Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer.

The EU news comes as the highly transmissible delta variant surges throughout unvaccinated pockets of the United States. Just 52% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. The U.S. reported nearly 180,000 new cases of the virus on Aug. 27, the highest figure since late January.

Other countries are also being removed from the EU’s safe list, according to CNN. These countries include Kosovo, Montenegro, Lebanon, North Macedonia and Israel, which is one of the world’s most-vaccinated countries.

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