Sunday,  October 17, 2021  12:04 am

"Incredibly disappointing": U.S. Travel responds to EU's order to ban Americans

"Incredibly disappointing": U.S. Travel responds to EU's order to ban Americans
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Europe is set to quarantine America as it moves into the final stages of allowing outsiders to cross its borders on July 1st. 

European Union countries are working on a "safe list" of countries whose residents could travel to the block when borders reopen. 

But it is excluding countries that do not have their coronavirus crisis under control, with reports saying the United States, along with Brazil and Russia, are likely not going to make the cut. 

Ambassadors from the 27 EU members met on Friday (June 26th) to work out the criteria for granting quarantine-free access for visitors. However, the group failed to settle on what the final safe list might look like. 

Reports say that many countries had to consult with their governments first before decided on a definite list. 

It is unlikely that Americans will be allowed into the EU as U.S.-based COVID-19 numbers continue to soar to new heights. 

The U.S. has surpassed 127,000 deaths and case counts are rising rapidly in many states. In Florida, for instance, daily confirmed COVID-19 cases neared 9,000 last Fridaya new record that almost doubles the previous number set just two days prior.

According to Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 data tracker, the U.S. has confirmed more than 2.5 million cases of the deadly virus. 

Spain's foreign minister, Arancha González Laya, said on Monday (June 29th) that the EU's final list could include about 15 countries and that it would be based on criteria assessing how they have handled the coronavirus crisis, according to the Associated Press

The final safe list is likely to be released on Tuesday (June 30th), the AP noted.

The New York Times reported last week that countries on the safe list include Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican.

The outlet claimed to have viewed a draft version of the list of approved countries, noting that the U.S. was excluded. 

"Incredibly disappointing"

U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued a statement on Friday in response to the New York Times story. 

"The E.U.'s announcement is incredibly disappointing, and a step in the wrong direction as we seek to rebuild our global economy," Barnes wrote. "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."

Barnes concluded: "This is unwelcome news and will have major negative implications for an economic recovery—particularly if this ban results in cycles of retaliation, as is so often the case."

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