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EU Transport and Tourism Guidelines

The European Commission has published recommendations for the gradual resumption of transport and tourism within the European Union (EU),while ensuring the implementation of adequate health and safety measures. Both sectors have lost billions of euros due to the pandemic.

With the EU’s external and internal borders practically closed due to the restrictive measures adopted to contain the spread of Covid-19, it is still uncertain when countries will lift travel restrictions which have increased uncertainty within the tourism sector.

What is certain is that this has to be an EU member state decision to ensure a coordinated European approach said the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, in an interview earlier this month.  When questioned about when flights or other types of travel (such as by bus or train) between European countries could be reestablished, Adina Vălean said that it is impossible to set dates, as we are so dependent on the pandemic evolution. “It would also be great if everyone decided to start at the same time, but that is impossible because of the health situation, which differs between member states.”

Adina Vălean further stated that specific criteria need to be in place such as low or zero contagion rates, guaranteed health, testing systems and the countries ability to monitor positive cases before borders can be re-opened. This affects the resumption of tourism due to differing rates of infection per country. Furthermore, she said, we cannot discriminate travellers based on nationality.

In an attempt to mitigate the risk, Adina Vălean reiterated that passengers should use protective equipment such as masks and distance themselves where possible. However, this is not always possible on flights.

In an interview published on Tuesday, Sergio Brusin, a leading specialist from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)  recommended that countries be “cautious” and “watch” as they lift restrictive measures.  However, he said, everyone needs to understand that 2020 will be a season where the economy slowly re-opens.

Samantha Gannon

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