Coronavirus Travel Restrictions: End the Travel Bans Between Europe and the U.S.

A traveler walks with a suitcase past an information board at the Eurostar terminal at St. Pancras International, as EU countries impose a travel ban from the U.K. following the coronavirus outbreak in London, Britain, December 21, 2020. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

News from Bloomberg:

European Union countries voted to subject the U.S. to fresh restrictions on nonessential travel amid a surge in new coronavirus cases, dealing a fresh blow to the tourism industry.

A qualified majority of ambassadors voted to reintroduce the curbs, which had been lifted in June, according to an EU statement on Monday. The change appears most likely to affect unvaccinated Americans.

It’s not clear how much this is a real pandemic-related measure or how much this is a smoke signal to the White House and State Department that the United States’s continuing travel ban against European passport holders is untenable and stupid. It is hammering the tourism, airline, and hospitality industries in Europe — and hurting them in the United States, too.

It’s also hurting families who live their lives with the the Atlantic Ocean between their members. This is a relatively small number of people — but it includes many in the National Review extended family of employees and contributors. To show my father the last 18 months of growth in his grandchildren, I had to fly all of them over to him and back in August. He cannot come here to visit them for a holiday break right now. The level of scrutiny that health documents got on our trip over there was not very serious — not really any different from someone who would present themselves for vaccination in the United States with an attestation about their eligibility. It seems like “just enough” for this time when the pandemic is still serious, but much more in hand than it was 18 months ago.

And recall, this is at a time when many European countries are beginning to declare an end to their emergency, to say they’ve achieved a sufficient level of vaccination that ongoing risk-assessment and management is being shifted back onto individuals, families, doctors, and private institutions.

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