The European Union (EU) has recommended new travel restrictions for U.S. visitors as the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to ravage communities across the United States.
According to Reuters, the EU was already well into the process of removing the U.S. and five other countries from its “safe travel” list.
By Monday (Aug. 30), the move was reportedly official, reversing EU guidance from last June when the bloc advised easing restrictions on U.S. tourists in time for the summer season.
Americans in Europe may now face familiar restrictions, such as quarantine requirements and enhanced testing measures. However, U.S. travellers may not be barred from entering the EU's 27 members countries entirely as the EU's recommendation is nonbinding.
This means that each country has the freedom to set its own rules, such as allowing entry using proof of vaccination, negative tests, or quarantine. The outcome will likely be a jumble of differing policies and rules.
Other countries the EU is expected to remove from its safe list include Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
In order to stay on the EU safe travel list, countries must have fewer than 75 new Covid-19 cases daily per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days. The U.S. currently has an infection rate roughly seven times above that.
The EU first lifted travel restrictions on Americans in June while the U.S. has maintained their ban on European non-essential travel since March 2020.
Willie Walsh, The International Air Transport Association's (IATA) director general, called the news a "disappointing development for businesses and people who rely on travel."
However: "The data from the U.S. and Israel supports the value and benefit of vaccination," Walsh said in a statement on Monday.
"As governments rightly urge their populations to be vaccinated, governments need to be confident in the benefits they bring—including the freedom to travel," he said. "At a minimum, those who are fully vaccinated should be free to move without restriction."