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 most borders remain closed, countries are slowly beginning to reopen, and many 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 enacted strict social distancing measures on March 16 and began lifting those restrictions on April 14. After new cases remained manageable for several weeks, and bars, restaurants, and museums are expected to reopen before the end of 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. Anyone entering Austria by land will have to show evidence of a negative test result and self-quarantine.


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. People who have remained in the region for at least 14 days, tested negative and had no contact with someone who tested positive can travel between the three countries freely. Travelers from outside the Baltics will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Air Baltic has scheduled flights to and from Baltic cities, Amsterdam, Oslo, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Munich, Berlin, and Copenhagen for citizens, workers with permits, and legal residents. In Lithuania, commercial airlines, including Turkish Airlines, Ryanair, Aeroflot, and Norwegian, are planning to resume service from June 1 to Aug. 1.


Though Belgium reopened museums and markets on May 18, the country is still limiting non-essential travel until June 15. Visas are no longer being issued until further notice, and most visa application centers are closed.


Bulgaria banned the entry of non-EU nationals by air, land, or water until June 14. Travelers arriving from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K. are also banned from entering. Exceptions are made for Bulgarian citizens and residents, essential workers, and foreign officials.


Excluding Croatian citizens and residents returning home, foreign nationals going home, diplomats, and essential workers, Croatia is denying entry to travelers until June 15. 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. Prime Minister Andrej Babis said that free travel between Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia could be possible on June 8 or 15.


Only Danish citizens; residents of Denmark, Greenland, or the Faroe Islands; people transiting to their home country; and those with a "worthy purpose" are allowed to enter Denmark until June 1. Any new arrival will have quarantine for 14 days. Phase three of the country's reopening will start June 8, which includes the reopening of museums, outdoor amusement parks, and botanical gardens. Restaurants and retail stores opened mid-May.

Britain Applauds Key Workers As Worldwide Coronavirus Cases Tops 5 Million
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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 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. International passenger flights are only arriving at Helsinki, Turku, and Mariehamn airports. Restaurants will reopen on June 1, as will cultural venues.


France closed its borders, along with most of the E.U., on March 17. On May 11, the country's prime minister began implementing a three-week de-confinement period that allows residents to move within a 100-kilometer radius of their homes. 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 closed its borders with neighboring countries on March 16, but citizens and permanent residents may still enter the country. Foreign travelers are banned from entering Germany except for transit, work, or emergency reasons. The country has warned residents against any international travel until at least June 14. After that date, Germany is planning to reopen its borders with France, Austria, and Switzerland.


Greece has proposed a more aggressive reopening plan than many of its European neighbors. The country's prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said on May 19 that tourism would kickstart again on June 15, when hotels reopen for the summer season. "Let us make this summer the epilogue of the [COVID-19] crisis," he added in his televised statement. Greece is also aiming to make travel cheaper by reducing the value-added tax (VAT) on all forms of transport into the country. 


Hungary has set June 1 as a target date for phasing out its border restrictions, according to Reuters. The country began lifting restrictions in Budapest, its largest city, on May 18 but is requiring facemasks in shops and on public transport.


Iceland's much-talked-about border reopening is set for 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 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. 


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 will also start to reopen the remaining closed businesses with social distancing and safety measures still required, and allow for free movement throughout the country.


All non-essential travel to the Netherlands is banned through June 15 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 will be allowed to open on June 1.


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). Norway will decide whether to allow entry from citizens of Nordic countries by June 15 and from other nearby countries by July 20.


Domestic and international air travel is suspended until May 23, and foreigners are banned from entering the country until June 12 with the possibility of being extended. Within the country, some 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's border restrictions were extended until June 15, 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.


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.


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.


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


Passenger flights via Air Serbia will be limited through June 15 . Foreign citizens must pass a PCR test and have authorization from the Serbian government to enter. Travelers flying into the country must self-quarantine for 14 days.


Spain is in a State of Alarm through May 24. Currently, only Spanish citizens and citizens/legal residents of the E.U. or Schengen countries are allowed to enter. Travelers entering the country must self-quarantine for 14 days, during which time they may leave their place of accommodation to shop for necessities and seek medical attention. Most hotels and hostels have been closed since March 27.  Everyone age six and up is required to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces. Having entered Phase 1 of its reopening plan on May 18, Spain is also mandating that all residents stay within their province. 


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 July 15. Except for citizens and residents, Sweden is banning travelers from non-EU countries until June 15.


Switzerland is only granting entry to citizens, those with a travel document and residence permit, and travelers from Liechtenstein. The country is currently in Phase 2 of economic recovery, with museums, shops, travel agencies, restaurants, and bars open as of May 11. Switzerland is planning to begin Phase 3 on June 8.


Turkey is denying entry to foreign nationals from 70 countries around the world, including Canada, Italy, mainland China, and Sweden. Citizens and residents of Turkey are welcome so long as they undergo a 14-day quarantine. Vehicles are prohibited from moving in and out of 15 of the nation's cities, including Ankara and Istanbul. Weekend curfews are still in place, and most non-essential businesses—including museums, archaeological sites, Turkish baths, and tea gardens—remain closed. Residents 20-and-under and 65-and-up may only leave their homes during designated hours. Everyone is required to wear a face mask.


Commercial international passenger flights, trains, and buses have been suspended, though Ukraine International Airlines and SkyUp have been operating a limited number of repatriation flights. Only foreigners with a residence permit and spouses of Ukraine citizens will be granted entry. All travelers entering the country are subject to a 14-day quarantine.


All travelers to the U.K.—except those from the Republic of Ireland—are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Wales has extended its lockdown to May 28, though some regulations have eased. Outdoor exercise is permitted, and garden centers have begun to reopen.

Article Sources
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