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It looks like the European Union is committed to opening back up to Americans this summer — at least to fully vaccinated people.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said she expects all 27 EU member states to open up to travelers who have received vaccines that the EMA (European Medicines Agency) has approved.
This would include: Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer-BioNTech. (These are all of the vaccines available in the US.)
We don’t know exactly when these countries will open up because they did not provide a specific timeline.
Countries like Iceland and Greece have already opened up and we’ve heard from the UK that they will be opening up relatively soon.
This is pretty exciting news if you had plans to get to Europe this summer but there still are some questions that need to be answered.
It’s not clear to me exactly how the verification process will work but it looks like there may be an app that will allow passengers to share test results and vaccination cards with governments.
There still could be tests or restrictions that specific member states require even if you are vaccinated so I’m curious how that will work.
It’s possible that — logistically — traveling to Europe may still be quite the headache.
I’m wondering what will happen to minors who currently are too young to get the vaccine but could potentially still be transporting the virus. Will they have to/be able to take a covid test?
This could make things a lot more difficult for families to get around in Europe this summer.
In addition, I’m wondering when the US will end the mandatory coronavirus test for incoming passengers, especially for those who are already vaccinated.
And finally, what is going to happen with masks?
The risk of a vaccinated individual transferring the virus to others looks like it is extremely minimal and so masks probably are almost certainly not needed for these people.
If vaccinated travelers have proof of vaccination then mask requirements should be dropped for these individuals in my opinion.
It’s looking like this summer will give us the first glimpse at normalcy when it comes to air travel.
But based on how things are slowly opening up and how some countries are still struggling a bit with vaccine roll out I don’t think we will get back to normal until after the summer.
If you are planning to visit Europe in the next few months I would still expect to deal with things like masks, social distancing, and testing at some locations.
Some countries might end up being more lax than others.
Still, this is a encouraging sign and great news for Americans who have been wanting to get back out to tourist hotspots like Italy, Spain, France etc.
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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.