The European Union has extended its travel ban on Americans as COVID-19 infections continued to rise across the United States.
The EU late last week said that Americans would still be banned for at least another two weeks, until the EU gathers again to determine which countries would be included, or excluded, from its travel list.
Since the EU began lifting travel restrictions outside the bloc on July 1, visitors from 14 countries, including Canada, South Korea, and Australia, were approved to travel to the bloc. The U.S. was left off the initial list, and has since been excluded because of COVID-19 infection rates in the country.
The EU’s European Council made the announcement after officials conducted their biweekly review of the travel restrictions, examining coronavirus trends and containment measures. Factors that are considered include the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days compared to the EU average, development of new cases in the same period compared to the previous 14 days, and general response to COVID-19 such as testing, monitoring, contact tracing, containment, treatment, and reporting.
When reports of the initial ban started breaking in June, ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby called the news “short-sighted and economically irresponsible.”
"A growing number of Americans have visited Europe over the past twenty years. Many European capitals including Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Venice, and Madrid are perennial top ten destinations for American travelers. While there may be genuine concerns from local officials regarding the spread of COVID-19, banning all Americans from travel to Europe is a short sighted decision that could have unintended long term consequences,” he said in a statement.
Speaking at the same time, U.S. Travel Association EVP for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes called the news “disappointing.”
“The EU's announcement is incredibly disappointing, and a step in the wrong direction as we seek to rebuild our global economy.
"In the U.S. alone, travel-related jobs account for more than a third of lost employment due to the fallout of the pandemic. Health is paramount, and the public has a major role to play by embracing best practices such as wearing masks, but we are at a stage when it should be possible to make progress.”
U.S. citizens are still able to visit the U.K., which left the E.U. in January, though they will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival.
The U.S. State Department has advised Americans against international travel since March 31 with a global Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory. That advisory is still in effect.