E.U. Confirms Removal of United States from Safe Travel Listby Daniel McCarthy /
After multiple reports on Sunday suggested that the European Union would be moving to take the United States off its safe travel list, the E.U confirmed the move on Monday.
The recommendation means that the E.U. is advising all of the countries in its 27-nation bloc to reinstate restrictions against Americans and slow down the arrival of tourists because of a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The decision is not binding, and all of the individual countries that are part of the E.U. will ultimately have the final say on what kind of restrictions Americans have to overcome to travel into the country.
The United States was one of six countries removed from the safe list with the others being Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and the Republic and Macedonia. While international travel is still down heavily from 2019 levels, the end of the summer typically also marks the end of the high season for European travel among Americans.
In a statement reacting to the news, U.S. Travel Association Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes said it was a “disappointing development.”
“This is a disappointing development following the boost in inbound visitation by vaccinated travelers that many E.U. countries experienced this summer. It’s a setback despite the uptake in vaccinations—the tool that’s highly effective against the variants—which are on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Travel is a crucial component of the global economy and will be necessary for a full recovery from the economic devastation of the pandemic. We encourage the E.U. to remain open to vaccinated Americans, and likewise urge the United States to take immediate steps to begin welcoming vaccinated individuals and restoring our travel economy.”
The U.S., despite a push to do so, has yet to fully open up its borders to Europeans.
Over the weekend, the U.S. reached 100,000 daily COVID hospitalizations for the first time since March when most Americans weren’t yet eligible to be vaccinated.
According to the latest available data, 52.4% of Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 61.6% of Americans receiving at least one dose of an approved vaccine.