As the Coronavirus pandemic shifts in different parts of the world, countries continue to weigh their options for reopening their borders.
While the COVID-19 pandemic remains a harsh reality for many countries, various parts of the world are looking to reopen their borders. Some countries are making changes despite their levels of virus cases, while others continue to weigh their options. The results will likely continue to differ and have varying ramifications for workforce mobility.
One of the most significant developments is the reopening of the European Union’s (EU)s borders with the announcement today of a list of countries from which residents can travel to EU member states and not face a quarantine period. The U.S. is not on the initial list with EU officials noting the spike in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. which has exceeded the average number of cases per 100,000 residents of the EU. As a result, today’s announcement prevents travel by American travelers along with Russian and Brazilian, among others, to the EU.
The restrictions are non-binding for EU member states. The list will be reviewed and updated every two weeks. Such a restriction will likely have economic ramifications as many business travelers from the U.S. travel to the region each year.
Spain, which has faced one of the most extreme lockdowns in the European Union, will reportedly end its emergency and welcome back tourists. Tourism contributes more than 12% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is an essential component to the country’s economic recovery. The country will welcome back tourists from most of Europe while also allowing British travelers into the country without the required quarantine. Due to the EU’s new travel restrictions, U.S. citizens are allowed to depart the European Schengen area, including Spain, while only citizens or legal residents of the European Schengen zone are allowed to enter the European Schengen zone. Despite the decreased restrictions, social distancing rules will remain in place as well as public wearing of masks in order to avoid a second surge in cases.
On 20 June, it was reported that Saudi Arabia, which still has peaking COVID-19 cases, will lift its curfew across the nation to resume commercial activities. However, international travel and the estimated two million people traveling to the country making the Islamic pilgrimage known as Hajj will not be permitted.