As the world slowly begins planning for reopening businesses, governments are examining their travel restrictions. Worldwide ERC® is tracking this closely.
While governments of certain countries are beginning to ease the stay-at-home restrictions for their residents and opening government offices, for the most part, they are still maintaining international travel and immigration restrictions. The travel restrictions are designed to prevent foreign nationals with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from entering the country as their residents begin to venture out. Below are updates for the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the United States (U.S.) as the two nations begin to ease restrictions related to COVID-19.
United States Travel Restrictions
In the U.S., Governors are determining what restrictions to ease as well as the timing. Most states have started to reopen businesses and state government services, with California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Washington State, and Wisconsin maintaining extensive restrictions.
The U.S. federal government continues entry restrictions for nationals from much of Europe, China, and Iran as well as nonessential travel from Canada and Mexico. U.S. President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation suspending the issuance of immigrant visas but with a number of exceptions. The U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Labor are drafting a report for the President with respect to potential forthcoming restrictions on nonimmigrant visas.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices are scheduled to reopen on 4 June. On 18 March, USCIS suspended offering services through its offices and support centers but has continued to provide remote essential services as well as limited in-person services in cases of an emergency.
On 10 May, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic within the country. In his address, Johnson outlined three steps for the easing of restrictions. The governments of Scotland, Whales and Northern Ireland are advising their residents to continue to follow more stringent restrictions and not reopening businesses and schools in the same timeframe as England.
Step one begins this week. Johnson stated that residents should continue to “work from home if [they] can, and only go to work if [they] must.” He stressed the need for those specifically in the construction and manufacturing to return to work and that all individuals returning to work should to avoid public transportation. He noted the government is developing guidelines for businesses on making workplaces safer from COVID-19.
The U.K. has not banned entry for foreign nationals from other countries but does require a 14-day quarantine period. The U.K. government allocated $75 million to help its citizens return to the U.K. and continues to advise its permanent residents to return home.