Travel to Europe: A Reopening Timeline, Country by Country

France Eases Coronavirus Lockdown
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Europe was one of the regions hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, particularly in Italy and Spain. However, thanks to strict lockdowns, most countries are seeing steep declines in death and infection rates. While the European Union has banned citizens from the U.S. and other highly-affected countries from entering, most of Europe is slowly beginning to reopen, and many countries have set dates for summer tourism to return. Read on for a country-by-country list of border closures, quarantine restrictions, and travel details for throughout Europe. 

Austria

Austria enacted strict social distancing measures on March 16 and began lifting those restrictions on April 14. After new cases remained manageable for several weeks, bars, restaurants, and museums reopened around mid-May. The Austrian Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for the United States and visa applications are suspended until further notice . Non-EU citizens (third-country nationals) flying into Austria from a non-Schengen zone country are prohibited. Third-country nationals flying into Austria from a Schengen zone country need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test and will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers who reside in one of 32 European countries do not need a negative test result and do not need to quarantine if they haven't left approved countries in the past 14 days.

Baltics

The Baltic nations of Estonia , Latvia , and Lithuania each took slightly different approaches to lockdowns, but all three closed their borders and entered lockdown in mid-March. After loosening lockdown restrictions in late April, the Baltics opened their borders to each other on May 15. Estonia's state of emergency ended on May 18 and aside from gathering restrictions, the economy is fully reopened. Latvia's state of emergency ended June 8 but some lockdown restrictions remain in place. Travelers from 26 European countries (excluding Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, and the U.K.) can enter Estonia without needing to quarantine. Most travelers from outside the Baltics will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Flights to and from European cities are more frequent, though there are very few transatlantic flights.

Belgium

Though Belgium reopened museums and markets on May 18, the country is still limiting non-essential travel until June 30. Visas are no longer being issued until further notice, and most visa application centers are closed.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria banned the entry of non-EU nationals by air, land, or water until June 30. Bulgarian citizens and residents, EU nationals, essential workers, tourism workers, and foreign officials are exempted from the ban. As of June 20, new arrivals to Bulgaria do not need to quarantine.

Croatia

Excluding Croatian citizens and residents returning home, foreign nationals going home, diplomats, and essential workers, Croatia is denying entry to travelers until June 30. That said, lockdown restrictions have eased, including the resumption of intercity transportation and reopening of restaurants, elementary schools, museums, movie theaters, and more.

Czech Republic

After early border closings and heavy travel restrictions, the Czech Republic started relaxing border crossing rules on April 27. While leisure travel still isn't permitted, E.U. citizens can enter for business, and E.U. university students are welcome though they will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. Seasonal workers and long-term residents can enter the country provided they test negative for COVID-19. On June 5, border restrictions between Austria and Germany ended.

Denmark

Danish citizens; residents of Denmark, Greenland, or the Faroe Islands; people transiting to their home country; tourists from Germany, Norway, or Iceland; Danish students; and those with a "worthy purpose" are allowed to enter Denmark as of June 22. Any new arrival will have quarantine for 14 days. Phase three of the country's reopening started June 8, which includes the reopening of museums, outdoor amusement parks, and botanical gardens. Restaurants and retail stores opened mid-May.

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England

The U.K. has not enforced an outright ban on travel and currently has no entry restrictions. The government has advised against all non-essential travel, and President Trump banned U.K. nationals from entering the U.S. on March 14. 

Finland

Finland is reopening its borders gradually, a process that began on May 14. The country is now open for work-based and other essential travel, but arrivals are still strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. Tourists from Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Norway are allowed to enter Finland and aren't require to self-quarantine. International passenger flights are only arriving at Helsinki, Turku, and Mariehamn airports. Restaurants and cultural venues reopened June 1.

France

France closed its borders, along with most of the E.U., on March 17 and reopened borders to EU member states on June 15. On June 15 the country also began the next phase of the prime minister's de-confinement plan allowing cafe, bars, restaurants, public transportation, and schools to resume operation. Delta is currently flying between Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport and Atlanta five days per week, while Air France is flying between Los Angeles and Paris and Paris and New York three days per week.

Germany

Germany closed its borders with neighboring countries on March 16 and reopened to EU nations as of June 17. Travelers from Schengen-zone nations can enter the country without providing an entry reason. 

Greece

Greece has proposed a more aggressive reopening plan than many of its European neighbors. International flights resumed to Athens airport May 30, international flights to Athens and Thessaloniki resumed June 25 and on July 1, international flights to all Greek airports will resume. Hotels have been allowed to reopen from June 1, though some remain closed.

Hungary

The country began lifting restrictions in Budapest, its largest city, on May 18 and as of June 22, most restrictions have been lifted including the reopening of museums, move theaters, and restaurants. Currently, only Hungarian residents, Schengen zone residents, and diplomats are allowed to pass through the Budapest airport.

Iceland

Iceland's much-talked-about border reopening occurred June 15. The country will welcome travelers from around the world, but quarantine and testing will be necessary. During a two-week trial period, arrivals at Keflavik International Airport will be tested for coronavirus free of charge. Those who decline testing will instead be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Ireland

Ireland has had limited flights and ferries to the U.K., but otherwise, its borders have been closed. Arrivals are instructed to self-isolate for 14 days. Public transportation throughout the country is limited, and restaurants and pubs are currently closed, but set to reopen on June 29. Museums and other cultural institutions won't open until July 20. 

Italy

After one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in Europe, Italy announced on May 16 that it would open its borders to travelers—only those from E.U. member nations and countries in the Schengen Zone—beginning on June 3 with no mandatory 14-day quarantine (with the exception of those who test positive or have been in contact with someone who has). At that time, it also began to reopen the remaining closed businesses with social distancing and safety measures still required, and allow for free movement throughout the country.

Netherlands

All non-essential travel to the Netherlands is banned through July 1 for people who do not fit into these exceptions: E.U. citizens, Schengen Zone citizens, or U.K. nationals . Within the country, some businesses and activities are beginning to reopen as of mid-May, and others such as restaurants, cafes, theaters, and museums opened on June 1.

Norway

Norway's borders are closed to all foreign nationals through Aug. 20 (with some exceptions allowing only those with a work permit or residence to enter or EEA citizens with family in Norway). Free travel between Nordic countries, excluding Sweden, resumed June 15 with no quarantine required or travel restrictions. Norway will decide whether to allow entry from citizens of nearby countries by July 20.

Poland

international air travel to Poland resumed, though there are no direct flights to or from the United States. Though non-EU citizens are still banned from entering the country. Within the country, restrictions have eased to allow businesses to open up under mandated safety guidelines and social distancing.

Portugal Impacted By Coronavirus
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Portugal

Portugal's border restrictions were extended until June 30, banning all travelers from entry before that date except for citizens and foreign residents to return home. As of May 18, select businesses such as restaurants, cafes, stores, museums, and art galleries are allowed to reopen with limited capacity, social distancing, and required face masks.

România

On May 15, the Emergency Government Ordinance 70 began, which includes the ban on all non-Romanian citizens entering the country. Also, on May 15, Romania suspended all flights to and from the following countries for 15 days: the U.S., the U.K., Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Iran.

Russia

The entry of all foreign nationals was banned from March 18 to May 1, though no new guests will be permitted in Russian hotels until June 2. Commercial flights to and from Russia stopped March 27, excluding repatriation efforts. Airports and major transit hubs will be screening passengers for symptoms.

Scotland

There is no outright travel ban to visit the U.K. right now (however, a mandatory 14-day quarantine is in pla). Still, each country is implementing varying local regulations and lockdown procedures. Scotland appears to be more cautious than its neighbors. There was a lockdown in place until May 28 and specific sectors and activities, from work to exercise and social gatherings, are returning more gradually than other U.K. countries.

Serbia

Air Serbia resumed passenger flights, with restrictions, after June 15. As of June 21, all entry restrictions are lifted, including self-quarantining requirements.

Spain

Spain was in a State of Alarm until May 24 and reopened to tourists from Schengen countries, though the border with Portugal remains closed until July 1. Travelers entering the country before June 30 must self-quarantine for 14 days, during which time they may leave their place of accommodation to shop for necessities and seek medical attention. Some U.S. embassies and consulates and Spain are reopening on June 29.  Everyone age six and up is required to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces.

Sweden

Despite Sweden's controversial decision to stay open during the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, the government is encouraging those residing in the country to avoid international, non-essential travel until Aug. 31. Except for citizens and residents, Sweden is banning travelers from non-EU countries until June 30

Switzerland

Switzerland lifted all entry restrictions to citizens of Schengen countries on June 15. The country is currently in Phase 3 of economic recovery, with museums, shops, travel agencies, restaurants, libraries, and markets open as of June 22.

Turkey

Turkey reopened most air, land, and sea borders to all travelers on June 11. The borders with Iran and Syria remain closed. Only medical tourists to Turkey are required to bring health documentation. Citizens and residents of Turkey are welcome so long as they undergo a 14-day quarantine. As of June 19, business like hair salons and shopping malls are open and weekend curfews are still in place. People 18 and under can be out any time with a parent and people over 65 can be out from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Everyone is required to wear a face mask in Istanbul, Ankara, and Bursa.

Ukraine

As of June 19, Ukraine lifted the entry ban and commercial flights resumed operation June 15. Most businesses and services within Ukraine are open, including hotels and restaurants, though the country's "adaptive quarantine" will be in place until July 31.

Wales

All travelers to the U.K.—except those from the Republic of Ireland—are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Wales ended its lockdown on May 28 and restrictions continue to ease with retail shopping resuming June 22.

Article Sources
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