As of today, the European Union has controlled the coronavirus well enough to open its doors to travelers from a list of countries that have been patient and disciplined in responsibly quelling the outbreak. Nearly all European countries, plus Canada, Japan, Australia, and even China, have qualified. Sadly, a few countries lacking in discipline, national leadership, and an embrace of science are not welcome — including Brazil, Russia, and the USA.
The permitted nations employed strict lockdowns, compulsory use of masks, and a careful and gradual reopening dictated by testing and contact tracing. In the United States, many individuals, mayors, and governors did their best to do the same. But nationally, we’ve had a patchwork response with virtually no federal leadership and a too-fast reopening driven more by impatience and economic concerns than by public health. And now, as Europe has things under control, in much of the US new cases are surging.
On the same day the EU announced their reopening plans, my tour company cancelled all remaining 2020 departures. We had been hoping that autumn might bring a return of Americans to Europe…but now it’s clear that we’re not yet ready for that privilege.
We’re still dreaming of Europe in 2021. But to make that happen, Americans need to come together and act more conscientiously and collectively to get our outbreak under control. The EU will reconsider which nations are welcome for non-essential visits every two weeks by measuring cases per 100,000 of population. Currently the EU reports 16 cases per 100,000, while rates in the US are 107 per 100,000 (nearly 7 times as high).
Happy travels, Canadians, Australians, Japanese, and Europeans! (And as for Americans…until we take this virus more seriously, we’ll have to settle for “visiting” Europe by streaming episodes of my TV show.)
For more details and commentary, my co-author Cameron Hewitt recently shared his perspective on how the coronavirus has impacted travel for Americans in Europe.