Is international travel allowed yet? See when Jamaica, St. Bart’s, Austria plan to reopen borders

Americans with a bad case of wanderlust may have to wait until later this summer to vacation abroad – and while some countries, including Spain, have announced target dates to reopen, the pickings will be slim for a while.

Parts of Mexico and the Caribbean have targeted dates in early to mid-June for reopening from coronavirus restrictions, and the Bahamas are planning to open July 1. But Europe will lag, opening first to other citizens of European Union and Schengen Area countries before welcoming international visitors at a later date.

At least one EU member nation has announced a target window, however: Spain’s prime minister announced that his country will reopen to foreign tourists sometime in July, though he did not specify a date.

Iceland has said it will reopen its borders to foreign tourists on June 15, though there’s a catch: Visitors will either have to agree to be tested for COVID-19 or self-quarantine for two weeks.

It’s worth noting that the U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not rescinded or downgraded their travel warnings. The State Department’s global travel alert, first issued in March, is still in effect. For its part, the CDC still has its highest travel warning in effect for the United Kingdom, Ireland and most of Europe as well as China and Iran. 

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here’s an update on some of the countries that are most popular with American travelers:

Canada

When will the border open? Not until at least June 23, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday. He confirmed that his country’s land border with the U.S. will remain closed for an additional 30 days. Trudeau and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security made the announcement two days before the order closing the border to nonessetial travel was set to expire. 

There’s a major loophole, though: The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa said the order does not apply to “air, rail, or sea travel at this time, but does apply to commuter rail and ferry travel.”

‘It was the right thing’:  Trudeau announces extension of US-Canada border closure

“We’re going to be very, very careful about reopening any international travel, including in the United States, before we feel that it is time,” he said in April while announcing the previous extension.

What can travelers expect once they’re allowed in? Trudeau said Canada is “looking at stronger measures to make sure that we’re following up appropriately with people who come over” in order to prevent a second wave of infections.

Mexico

When will the border open? On Tuesday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced that the land border with Mexico would remain closed through June 22.

But like the U.S.-Canadian closure order, the Mexican version does not apply to air, rail or sea travel, except for commuter rail and ferry travel.

Mexico said late last week that it would lift quarantine restrictions in less-affected regions starting Monday and begin reopening the rest of the country June 1. But on Saturday, the Ministry of Health recorded 2,500 new cases, the country’s largest spike to date.

Caribbean

Aruba

When will it reopen its borders? Sometime between June 15 and July 1, according to a “tentative” estimate by the Aruba Tourism Authority. “The aforementioned reopening target date is subject to change as we may consider additional precautionary measures as needed,” it cautioned.

Bahamas

When will it reopen its borders? July 1, the island nation announced May 29 in a Ministry of Tourism & Aviation release. The date is tentative and subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, namely, if there is a “deterioration” in the country’s overall improvement.

Jamaica

When will it reopen its borders? Jamaica’s tourism board said the Caribbean island will welcome back international tourists beginning June 15. 

What can tourists expect? Visitors will be checked for fever and coronavirus symptoms and those exhibiting either may be subject to additional screening, including a COVID-19 test. Any visitor who shows symptoms may be required to quarantine. The tourism board says its health protocols will be reviewed biweekly.

Puerto Rico

When will it reopen its borders? Tourists are already welcome back in the U.S. territory.

What can tourists expect? According to Puerto Rico’s tourism board, all incoming commercial flights have been diverted to San Juan, where incoming guests must undergo a health screening upon arrival, including a brief interview and temperature check. Once admitted, all passengers are required to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they are symptomatic. In addition, an islandwide curfew remains in effect from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. through May 25.

St. Barts

The French territory will reopen to international tourists beginning June 22, according to its Facebook page. However, in order to enter the island, visitors will need to schedule a RT-PCR Covid-19 test and provide a negative result within 72 hours of arrival. Alternately, they can opt to be tested within 24 hours upon arrival and maintain strict quarantine for until their test comes back negative. Visitors who stay beyond seven days must undergo a second test. Anyone who tests positive will be moved to the quarantine center near the Stade de St Jean for monitoring.

St. Lucia

If you're headed for St. Lucia, pack your hiking boots because the UNESCO-listed Pitons are not to be missed.
If you’re headed for St. Lucia, pack your hiking boots because the UNESCO-listed Pitons are not to be missed.

When will it reopen its borders? Flights from the U.S. will be the first allowed back into the Eastern Caribbean island beginning June 4, its government said in its reopening plan. 

Visitors must present certified proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of boarding their flight. Once there, they must wear face masks and practice social distancing.

U.S. Virgin Islands

When will it reopen its borders? Hopefully, by June 1, according to a May 18 press conference by Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., who said he’d been working on a rollout plan with the departments of tourism and health and other groups.

Europe

Austria

When will it reopen its borders? Austria plans to accept visitors from European countries except Sweden, Britain, Portugal and Spain on June 16. 

According to the country’s official tourism site, visitors entering Austria from other Schengen treaty countries must submit a medical certificate showing a negative COVID-19 test that was issued in the last four days. Tourists from outside the EU still may not fly into Austria for the time being.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also said Wednesday that the border with Italy to the south would be open without conditions, but warned Austrian citizens not to travel to Lombardy. The northern Italian region has been the epicenter of Italy’s epidemic, showing triple-digit growth in daily infections while much of the rest of the country counts a handful or fewer.

Austria’s reluctance to open its shared border with Italy, which opened its borders on June 3, has been a sore spot between the neighbors, especially as the summer tourism season gets underway.

Greece

When will it reopen its borders? Greece will accept visitors as of June 15 but only from 29 countries. The Greek Tourism Ministry said travelers from the permitted countries will be able to enter on direct flights to Athens and to the northern city of Thessaloniki. Visitors will be subject to sample coronavirus testing.

“Our aim is to be able to welcome every tourist who has overcome their fear and has the ability to travel to our country,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Antenna television.

The 29 countries include: Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.

The list will be expanded on July 1 to include other countries, the ministry said. 

Iceland

When will it reopen its borders? Tourism minister Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir announced earlier this month that Iceland, which is part of the European Economic Area but not an EU member country, will begin easing restrictions on foreign tourists no later than June 15. 

One condition of admission is that visitors must either be tested for coronavirus or spend two weeks in quarantine. However, citizens of countries that provide government records documenting a clean bill of health can opt to submit those instead, Reuters reported. 

Regardless of which option visitors choose, they will be asked to download a contact-tracing app. 

“Iceland’s strategy of large-scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far,” Gylfadottir told Reuters, explaining the country’s relatively low rate of infection and death as well as its quick rebound.

Spain

When will it reopen its borders? On Saturday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that the country would be open to international tourism starting in July, Madrid-based newspaper El Pais and Reuters reported.

“Spain needs tourism and tourism needs security,” Sanchez said.

According to The Financial Times, tourism accounts for 12% of Spain’s gross domestic product. It welcomes 80 millions tourists each year.

Italy

When will it reopen its borders?  Italy, which is one of the European countries hit hardest by the coronavirus, will relax its border restrictions on June 3. At that time, Italians can travel between regions or to other European Union countries and the United Kingdom, and citizens of those countries can travel to Italy.

France

When will it reopen its borders?  French citizens can travel within a 100-kilometer (62 mile) radius of where they live, but for now, its borders remain closed.

Germany

When will it reopen its borders?  Germany continues to restrict entry to non-European Union citizens through at least June 15.

When will the rest of Europe reopen its borders? Not until after June 15 and probably later than that for non-EU citizens.

Earlier this month, the European Union proposed that Schengen Area members and associated countries keep their borders closed to non-EU nationals until June 15 so they could continue to coordinate the continent’s response to the pandemic. Nearly all of the 30 countries involved have adopted the proposal.

In mid-April, the European Union Commission presented a phased roadmap that will first restore free movement between member countries and then relax external border restrictions during the second stage.

Good news for British citizens yearning to travel: The EU also said that citizens of the United Kingdom will continue to be treated as EU citizens until the end of the transition period and would be able to travel once internal borders are relaxed.

United Kingdom

Beginning June 8, travelers can enter the UK, but they must provide contact information and self-isolate for 14 days, or face fines.

Australia

When will the border open? Not for at least three more months, according to an April 23 statement by the country’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy. And the only mention of international travel in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s reopening plan comes in the final stage, when the country will consider allowing in other Pacific islanders and international students.

China

When will the border open? The country where the pandemic began in December briefly reopened its borders to non-citizens before closing them again in late March due to an influx of new cases. It has not said when it plans to relax those restrictions.

The Maldives

When will the border open? In a May 31 statement posted to its Ministry of Tourism website, the Maldives announced it would open its borders to tourists in July, though no specific date was specified.

“Tourists will be welcomed,” Ali Razzan, senior executive director of the Ministry wrote in the statement. “And, no additional fees will be charged from any tourist visiting the Maldives.”

Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus travel: Jamaica, St. Bart’s, Austria share reopening plans

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