EU sets out plans for phased restart of travel
May 14, 2020 - The European Union unveiled Wednesday its plan to help citizens across the 27 nations salvage their summer vacations after months of tough coronavirus confinement and to hopefully resurrect Europe’s badly battered tourism industry.
In a series of guidelines, the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, laid out its advice for lifting ID checks on hastily closed borders, helping to get airlines, ferries and buses running while ensuring the safety of passengers and crew, and preparing health measures for hotels to reassure clients.
The commission’s over-arching advice is that EU countries with similar rates of coronavirus infections and comparably strong health care systems should begin lifting border measures between each other. Tourists from outside Europe cannot enter until at least June 15.
The move comes amid deep concern that Europe’s ID-check free travel zone – the 26-country space known as the Schengen Area – is being strangled by controls, further harming virus-ravaged economies by limiting the movement of goods, services and people that are essential to business.
Austria and Germany said Wednesday they plan to start loosening border controls this weekend after two months of restrictions.
But even with border restrictions easing, social distancing rules would apply, and the EU Commission is recommending that robust disease monitoring measures are put in place - including good testing capacity and contact tracing - so that people have the confidence to return to hotels and camping sites abroad.
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