The European Union has recommended restrictions be placed on tourists from the U.S due to rising coronavirus infections.
This decision by the European Council goes against advice it gave in June which was to lift restrictions on U.S travellers before the summer tourism season.
The council released a statement saying, “Nonessential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed (…) is subject to temporary travel restriction. This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on nonessential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travellers.”
The restrictions apply to the Union’s 27 states, however, they are non-binding.
The EU also removed Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the list.
Individual state governments can decide whether they want to keep their borders open to the U.S, but possible restrictions could include quarantines, further testing requirements, etc. It could also mean a total ban on all nonessential travel from the nation.
More than 15 million Americans a year visited Europe before the coronavirus crisis, and new travel restrictions could cost Europe billions.
The United States has yet to reopen its own borders to EU tourists, despite calls from the bloc for the Biden administration to lift its ban.
Adalbert Jahnz, the European Commission spokesperson for home affairs, said that the EU is in talks with the US but they have not reached an agreement yet.
The European Council updates the safe travel list based on criteria relating to coronavirus infection levels. It gets reviewed every two weeks. The threshold for being on the EU list is having not more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.
Last week in the U.S. new coronavirus cases averaged over 152,000 a day, turning the clock back to the end of January, and the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients was around 85,000, a number not seen since early February.
U.S. coronavirus deaths have been over 1,200 a day for several days, seven times higher than they were in early July.