European Union to Lift Non-Essential Travel Ban March 1

The Council of the European Union on Tuesday adopted a new recommendation as it relates to travel into the E.U. Starting March 1, the Council—in response to the evolution of the pandemic, the increasing vaccination uptake and administration of booster doses, and the recognition of a growing number of certificates issued by third countries as equivalent to the E.U. Digital COVID Certificate—says member states should open their borders to non-essential travelers vaccinated with an E.U.- or World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine, recovered persons and all persons traveling from a country on the E.U. list.

Restrictions should take into account both the situation in the traveler’s country and the individual status of the person; additional safety measures such as PCR testing before arrival could still apply.

Following the announcement, Julia Simpson, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, said: “WTTC welcomes the sensible decision by the EU to drop travel restrictions before Easter.

“The patchwork of rules and regulations did nothing to prevent the spread of COVID but did cause immense damage to the economy of Europe causing the loss of jobs and businesses. Now is time to rebuild travel and tourism and connect Europe to the world.”

Travelers are considered fully vaccinated if they have received the final dose of their vaccine within 14 and 270 days of travel or have received a booster dose. Member states, the E.U. says, should also lift restrictions for non-essential travelers who have recovered from COVID-19 within 180 days prior to travel. A PCR test from within 72 hours of travel could apply for those who have recovered from COVID or have been vaccinated with an E.U.-approved vaccine but do not hold an E.U. Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent.

Children from ages six to 18 must fulfill the conditions set out for adults. No testing or requirements should be applied to those under the age of six.

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