Europe has been a no go for about one month for travelers who are not traveling there for essential purposes. Europe, which I’m referring to as the EU and Schengen countries, imposed a travel ban back on March 17 with a deadline of 30 days. This came around the same time that the US issued a travel ban for the region.
The closed borders in Europe are set to end on April 16 but European Union officials, while acknowledging some encouraging first results, are recommending that border closures be extended at least until mid-May.
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said:
“While we can see encouraging first results, prolonging the travel restriction is necessary to continue reducing the risks of the disease spreading further. We should not yet let the door open whilst we are securing our house.”
But these border closures could potentially last much longer according to some European officials.
According to Forbes, “French President Emmanuel Macron has reportedly raised the possibility of the usually border-free countries staying shut to most foreigners for six more months.”
This is because Europe recognizes that they were one of the front runners when it comes to dealing with coronavirus. Other countries including the US, have lagged behind in terms of when they will be reaching their peak.
It’s currently estimated that some states in the US will peak sometime in May whereas the big hotspot countries in Europe like Italy have already began a clear decline in cases.
Then there are other regions like Africa where things are just beginning to play out so Europe wants to ensure that opening up travel to these countries will not spark a second wave in their countries.
An extension of six more months could be even more devastating to many airlines.
Airline travel is already at a ridiculously low occupancy rate and if that were to continue for half a year, I’m not sure how some airlines would be able to survive.
The only individuals allowed to fly into these countries would be EU citizens, permanent residents, and those with essential travel reasons. There would also be exceptions for certain people like doctors and medical staff or diplomats but we are talking a very small sliver of travelers — not nearly enough to sustain big airlines.
It is going to be very interesting to monitor how officials decide to open travel back up once the summer begins. I’m sure they will be monitoring how things progressed in other countries like China.
Personally, I don’t see the travel ban lasting until September but if I was planning on resuming some type of travel plans this summer, I would probably only count on domestic travel or maybe travel to Mexico or the Caribbean.
Getting out to Asia or Europe during the summer (especially early summer) could get complicated as you never know what type of quarantine measures will be implemented at some of these destinations. You might be able to get in, but you might have to subject yourself to isolation for a couple of weeks.
We will probably have a much clearer idea of how things will pan out in the middle of May, and I fully expect to see the European countries extend these bans another 30 days.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.