Spain and Greece have decided to tighten restrictions thanks to a rise in COVID-19 cases. Europe opened up to U.S travelers at the start of the summer, but now we’re starting to see restrictions tighten across the continent.
Both countries have seen a rise in cases because of the Delta Variant in recent weeks. As a result, both nations will increase restrictions. This is contrary to the United Kingdom, which will remove COVID-19 restrictions on July 19th despite rising cases of the Delta Variant.
The New Restrictions
The Spanish authorities have decided to implement restrictions on 30 towns in the Valencia region. These restrictions include nighttime curfews and restrictions on socializing. The restriction is a response to the rising cases of the Delta Variant in young people, especially those without vaccination.
Barcelona will also see social gatherings limited to 10 people, with a curfew on all nighttime activities. Although there has been a rise in cases, death rates remain low. That gives hope to travelers that restrictions won’t increase considerably over the coming weeks. However, Spain has seen cases triple in the last few weeks.
Greece has decided to enforce mandatory vaccination passports on all bars and restaurants. So if you want to enjoy any Greek hospitality – one of the countries most significant benefits – you’ll need a vaccine passport. These restrictions also apply to theaters and nightclubs.
The Greek Prime Minister stated, “The aim is for the end of the pandemic not to become a prelude to a new ordeal in the fall,” said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the country’s prime minister. “Therefore, starting today and quickly, we can close the last chapter of the health crisis.”
Both countries have high vaccination rates. Spain has given over 47 million vaccines to its people, equating to around 51% of the entire population. Greece has administered 9.3 million vaccination doses, and 43.5% of the nation’s population is fully vaccinated. Both countries rely on tourism for much of their GDP (especially Greece), and both nations will look to keep travel as restriction-free as possible for people around the globe.
What This Means For Travel
Europe had relatively low cases of COVID-19 at the start of the summer. However, cases have slowly risen around the continent. As a result, countries have started to implement new restrictions inside the country and on the border.
Lithuania introduced border controls, including mandatory quarantine for many nations. Slovakia has also enforced mandatory quarantine on travelers without vaccination from July 9th. Portugal also enforced evidence of full vaccination on arrivals for some countries after opening up to travelers of any vaccine status in May.
Many EU nations have pondered adding mandatory quarantine on UK arrivals, including Italy, which enforced quarantine on all U.K arrivals, preventing England fans from attending the quarter-final of Euro 2020 in Italy. Spain also introduced proof of vaccination to all British arrivals after easing almost all restrictions.
France will now make all travelers show a COVID health pass at restaurants, bars, and cafes throughout the country. In addition, the country will now enforce a mandatory quarantine on many arrivals from nations outside the EU, including Britain.
The quick changes in restrictions suggest a rocky ending to the summer for travelers coming to Europe. We’re unlikely to see any travel bans and significant restrictions before the summer ends, but then again – we’re living in crazy, crazy times.
U.S. travelers will need to keep up to date on the changing restrictions in Europe if they’re heading or planning on heading to Europe in the coming months. But, unfortunately, the travel industry and travel fanatics aren’t out of this mess just yet.
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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