The reopening of the tourism sector is real (if a bit slower than we might wish). Over the weekend, we got two pieces of European news, one exciting and the other disappointing. Spain has officially announced when fully vaccinated U.S. citizens can visit again, while U.K. officials said there was “no rush” to lift the ban on non-essential travel by U.S. citizens.
First the bad news: The U.S. and the U.K. are at a bit of a standstill. The Biden administration hoped to lift travel restrictions to the E.U. (the 27 country economic bloc) and the U.K. by mid-May. Well, we’re a week away from June and that’s simply not happening. As of last Friday, the White House said that “there were no changes in travel restrictions planned at the moment” between the U.S. and Europe, in general.
The U.K. did open travel between the U.K. and 12 green-listed countries (not including the U.S.) but with big caveats. The sentiment seems to be that while U.K. officials have approved travel back and forth from a dozen “safe” destinations, all non-essential travel, including casual tourism, should be avoided. Basically, they’re using the hard science that airports have become super-spreaders of the virus and its new variants for tempering their gusto to get their citizens back on the road.
We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to England from a number of ‘green list’ countries from 17 May, and extending our welcome to others as the England list evolves and other British nations announce their guidance.
— VisitBritain 🇬🇧 (@VisitBritain) May 7, 2021
Spain, on the other hand, announced that U.S. citizens can travel to the peninsula starting on June 7th. The country — which needs tourism to survive — decided not to wait for the European Union in reopening its tourism sector. As of June 7th, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens will be allowed to travel to Spain.
If you’re received two Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least 14-days before arrival (or one Johnson & Johnson dose), you’ll be allowed to travel to Spain. Children under 18 can travel to Spain without a vaccination. But if that child is over six they have to show a negative PCR test before boarding the plane and get another one on arrival, plus, get tested before flying back to the U.S., all at the traveler’s own expense.
If you’re over 18 and not vaccinated, you cannot enter Spain — even with a negative COVID test. And, naturally, there are still COVID precautions in place once you get to Spain from social distancing rules, mask mandates, and possible curfews. Moreover, Spain can change any of these rules at any time. You’ll also have to fill out a Health Questionnaire before you travel.