As many rules are constantly changing throughout Europe, it’s hard for many eager travelers to keep track. We’ve rounded up all the latest travel advisories, border restrictions, and travel rule changes that have happened in Europe over the past week to help keep you informed.
What happened in Europe this week?
Many EU nations imposed additional testing/quarantine requirements for arrivals, extended lock-down measures in major cities, or updated their travel rules.
Most of the news adds more restrictions in an already heavily regulated environment, but there were a few restriction removals in the mix you should know about.
Below we have updates for: Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Spain, Finland, Norway, France, Slovenia, Romania, and flights from Europe to Cancun.
Italy made some major changes this week, including who needs a PCR test to enter and who doesn’t.
Added to the ‘PCR required’ list was the UK, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Belgium. These 4 nations join the list of countries that need to bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival.
Italy did however remove Croatia from the PCR test-required list, making entry for passengers coming from Croatia a breeze. Now that a PCR test from Croatia is no longer needed, Croatian residents, or people who have been in Croatia for 14 days, can enter Italy unrestricted.
Many US travelers have been using Croatia as a ‘loophole’ to enter Italy. Until now, they have needed to provide a test to move from Croatia to Italy, but this requirement is now gone.
Greece and Malta were also removed from countries that required a PCR test to enter Italy.
This week, Italy also made the wearing of masks mandatory in both outdoor and indoor public spaces, 24 hours a day. Big fines are being issued for non-compliance.
Switzerland added Canada, Georgia, Tunisia, Slovenia, and some areas of Germany to the list of who needs to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.
With the latest updates, more EU nations and approved third-party nations require quarantine than ever before.
While the UK’s ‘travel corridor’ list keeps shrinking week-by-week, this week’s update didn’t see the removal of any more countries, but instead saw 5 Greek islands put back onto the quarantine-free list.
The following Greek islands: Serifos, Santorini, Lesvos, Zakynthos, and Tinos, have all been added back to the ‘travel corridor’ list, meaning that quarantine is not required for both UK citizens returning from a trip, and/or Greek toursts from those islands arriving into the UK.
The UK originally removed those islands from the travel corridor list on September 9th due to higher cases, making mandatory quarantine for citizens returning or tourists arriving from those areas. Only the islands of Mykonos and Crete still remain on the quarantine-required list.
While no new border restrictions were put into place, many areas of Spain enter lockdowns at cases surge.
Madrid has put into place a limited confinement act, as well as 8 other regional towns, that dictates people are only allowed to enter or exit the affected areas for work, school or medical grounds or for other pressing reasons. Public and private gatherings are limited to six people, and bars and restaurants must operate at 50% of their interior capacity and close by 11:00pm.
Catalonia is asking residents to work from home for the next 2 weeks if possible to lower community transmissions. Also this week will see meetings limited to six people, bars and restaurants to close by 10 p.m. and children’s parks will cut to 30% capacity.
Direct Flights from Europe to Cancun Restart
As Cancun is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations during the pandemic, many European airlines have restarted their direct flights into the resort city. Cancun is being regarded as one of the easiest places to vacation, due to not having any testing or quarantine requirements, but also for a place for couples separated by travel bans to reunite.
Lufthansa welcomed back their Frankfurt to Cancun flight earlier this week, as did Edelwiess from Zurich. Air France is planning their Paris-Cancun direct to return with three flights per week, then in November with five flights per week followed by daily flights in December. British airlines says they will also resume flights from London in October, despite Mexico being on their quarantine list for travelers returning back to the UK.
As of Monday, October 12, Finland has practically closed to every nation once again.
Finland removed ALL EU/Schengen nations from it’s ‘no quarantine’ list, with only the exception of Vatican City. All other nations that were previously on the list have been removed starting October 12 due to exceeding 25 cases per 100,000 population in the past 14 days.
However, these intense rules won’t last forever as Finland looks to replace quarantines with testing after November 23rd. At the end of November, leisure travel will also be possible from all EU and Schengen countries (including UK) with infection rates above 25 per 100 000 persons, with testing. Travelers from these countries will need to bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test result no older than 72 hours. Then, upon arrival in Finland, visitors from these countries are placed in quarantine for 72 hours after which they need to take a second test. After a second negative COVID-19 test result, the person can move around in Finland freely
Romania increased border controls as well as rules while inside the country this week.
Romania added the following countries to it's ‘yellow' list, which requires a 14-day quarantine upon arrival: Belgium, Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Iceland, United Kingdom, Hungary, and Slovakia.
Tourists that are visiting Romania should be aware that a new restriction has now stopped indoor service at restaurants, and strengthened face mask rules.
Due to a sudden rise in cases, the government of Slovenia is restricting all RED-list countries to essential travelers only. Tourism is currently not a valid reason for travel when coming from a red country.
Previously, countries like the USA that were on the red list could still enter Slovenia, with an agreement to complete a full 14-day quarantine. Some American travelers were using this route in order to gain access to the EU/Schengen area, like for travel to Italy for example.
Now with the October 7th update, travel will only be permitted from red list countries if the travel is deemed essential, like Slovenian nationals returning home, essential workers, etc.
The Slovenia loophole for red list countries is now closed until further notice.
France hit a new record on Saturday, reporting over 27,000 new cases in just 24 hours.
While no new lock-downs have yet been announced, CNN reported last week that France (Paris especially) could be facing another lock-down if case numbers didn’t improve, in which they have gotten worse since publishing.
Even as case numbers rise across Europe, G20 Tourism Ministers hosted more than 45 CEOs and Members of WTTC last week, who presented their plan to save the embattled Travel & Tourism sector and 100m jobs globally.
According to WTTC’s economic modelling, around 100 million jobs could be saved through strong international collaboration, eliminating travel barriers and an international testing protocol at departure, amongst others.
World tourism leaders are still pressing hard for testing to replace border closures or 14-day quarantines.
Sources: multiple sources all hyperlinked/underlined within the article
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories
Article originally published on October 11