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Coronavirus Travel Update: Which Destinations Are Reopening?

Some countries, such as Australia, are cautiously lifting their lockdown orders
Some countries, such as Australia, are cautiously lifting their lockdown orders | © Robert Wallace / Wallace Media Network / Alamy Stock Photo
Restaurants, shops, museums, beauty spots and other tourist attractions are beginning to reopen in countries and regions around the world, as governments are easing lockdown measures and lifting travel restrictions. Culture Trip lists the latest for domestic tourism for users in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, as well as up-to-date information on international travel bubbles.

Where can I travel domestically?

In the US

Stay-at-home orders have been lifted in almost every US state, with a number of restrictions on open spaces having been eased. The New York Times reports on the latest states to have softened lockdown measures, including the reopening of tourist attractions.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advises against any non-essential travel within the United States. The CDC website states, “it is possible that some state and local governments may put in place travel restrictions, stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or even state border closures while you are travelling.”

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware have jointly agreed to allow beaches and lakeshores to open today for Memorial Day weekend, but at reduced capacity and with restrictions, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday, The New York Times reports.

Beaches and boardwalks along the Jersey Shore and lakes throughout New Jersey will be open for Memorial Day weekend, with some restrictions, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy announced. Beaches and lakefronts must curb the number of visitors given access so people can properly socially distance. Families and households are allowed to cluster together, but otherwise people need to be six feet apart, the governor said, NJ.com reports.

On Monday, Californian governor Gavin Newsom loosened rules put in place to limit coronavirus infection rates. The rules will allow restaurant dining rooms and shopping malls to open again in counties that meet the new criteria. Even spectator-free sporting events could be available as soon as the first week in June.

In Florida, restaurants, malls, libraries and gyms are now able to open at 50% capacity, according to CNN. The cities of Miami and Miami Beach – with its famous Ocean Drive – are still shut down.

The Florida Keys are planning to welcome back visitors by 1 June, though they will initially cut their occupancy by half, according to local officials. “Tourism is the economic lifeblood of the Keys and almost half of our workforce is employed in visitor-related jobs,” Rita Irwin, chair of the destination management office for the Florida Keys and Key West, said in a press release announcing the reopening.

ABC reported that all Texas restaurants will be able to ramp up capacity from 25% to 50% from Friday. Bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, skating rinks, drive-ins, zoos and aquariums can open at a 25% capacity. Interactive amusement venues, such as video arcades, amusement parks and water parks are to remain closed, however.

In Canada

Yahoo! News reports on a province-by-province breakdown of the easing of lockdown restrictions across the country. According to the article, Nunavut, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nova Scotia did not have reopening plans in place yet.

Museums, art galleries and other tourist attractions across the country are reopening with physical distancing measures in place.

In British Columbia, where provincial parks reopened on 14 May, Premier John Horgan is still urging residents to stick close to home. “Let’s stay close to home – this is not the time for a road trip to another community for a hike, or a holiday,” he said.

In the UK

Under the UK Government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy, presented by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 11 May 2020, people are able to drive to open parks and spaces “irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there”.

However, as the guidelines in England differ to those in other UK countries, the strategy states: “When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.”

The new rules have sparked dismay in tourist hotspots such as Cornwall and the Lake District, where heads of tourism are concerned the influx of visitors will undermine efforts to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

UK campsites, hotels, holiday parks and tourist attractions are preparing to reopen in July, with social distancing measures in place and reduced capacity. According to the government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy, accommodation providers may be able to resume business from 4 July, subject to certain conditions.

According to The Guardian, Cool Camping, a UK camping and glamping website, has stated that since Boris Johnson announced the recovery plan in early May, bookings have increased fivefold.

In Ireland

The Irish Republic began its first phase of five in relaxing its coronavirus restrictions on 18 May. Some outdoor public and tourism amenities, including car parks, beaches and mountain walks, can reopen. However, the 5km-(3mi)-from-home travel limit continues to apply.

Under Phase Two of relaxing lockdown measures, due to take place on 8 June, restrictions on exercise will be extended from within 5km (3mi) of your home to 20km (12mi).

Under Phase Three (29 June), cafés and restaurants can reopen, while under Phase Four (20 July), museums, art galleries and other cultural destinations where people can walk around can reopen, as well as hotels, caravan parks and holiday parks. Pubs, bars and nightclubs won’t open until 10 August, under Phase Five of lifting the restrictions.

In Australia

The Australian Government is asking its residents to avoid non-essential travel within the country. States and territories can apply their own restrictions as well, including closing their borders and requiring self-isolation.

In New Zealand

New Zealand is currently in Alert Level 2 in its four-level alert system to manage the pandemic’s outbreak across the country.

The government states that under the current alert level, “You can travel around the country [without restriction] if you follow good personal health measures.”

“You will need to keep records of what travel services you use and keep track of who you have been in contact with. You should keep your distance from groups of people you don’t know. You should minimise the number of places you stop on the way to your destination,” the guidelines further state.

Is international travel allowed?

US-Canada

The United States and Canada have agreed to keep their shared border closed to non-essential travel until 21 June due to the Covid-19 outbreak, The Associated Press reports.

The two North American countries first shut the border for 30 days on 21 March in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. On 18 April, the restrictions were extended until 21 May as cases continued to go up on both sides of the border, and on 19 May they were extended for another month.

UK-Ireland

From 8 June, 14-day quarantines will be imposed on new arrivals to the UK, with fines for anyone who breaches the measure, The Guardian reports.

Home secretary Priti Patel announced that mandatory self-isolation would not apply to people coming from Ireland, medics tackling Covid-19 and seasonal agricultural workers.

Travellers will have to fill in a form providing their contact and travel information so they can be traced if infections arise. They could be contacted regularly during the fortnight and face random checks from public health authorities to ensure their compliance.

Breaches would be punishable with a £1,000 fixed-penalty notice in England, while devolved nations can set out their own enforcement approaches.

All passengers arriving at Irish ports and airports will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, RTE reports.

The ruling applies to all citizens, including Irish and British.

However, due to the Common Travel Area, the British Government will not require a 14-day period of self-isolation for people travelling from the Republic of Ireland to the UK.

Australia-New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are planning to open their borders for a trans-Tasman “travel bubble”, allowing citizens and residents to move freely between the two nations.

Plans for a travel bubble could be in place by the end of May, with temperature checks and masks under consideration.

In 2019, 1.5 million Australians visited New Zealand, making up the largest group (40 percent) of foreign visitors to the country, while 1.4 million New Zealanders visited Australia, accounting for 15 percent of its total visitors, FlightGlobal.com reports.

Other countries

Italy

Beginning in early June, Italy will reopen to European tourists and no longer require a 14-day mandatory quarantine period, the country’s government has announced.

Visitors within the Schengen Area will be allowed to enter Italy starting on 3 June. Italians will also be able to travel between its various regions. However, if coronavirus cases increase, local authorities can limit travel, the website EurActiv.com reports.

Regions, “in relation to specific states and territories, in accordance with the principles of adequacy and proportionality to the epidemiological risk”, can also limit movements to and from abroad, the government said in a statement.

Baltic States

As the first “travel bubble” in the European Union, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia opened their borders to each other on Friday, 15 May, hoping to jump-start their economies, Al Jazeera reports.

Citizens and residents of the three Baltic nations can freely travel within the region; however, those arriving from other countries will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Spain

Spain aims to reopen its borders around the end of June as its coronavirus lockdown fully unwinds, Reuters reports.

“We can’t allow foreigners to travel while the Spanish population is confined,” Spain’s Transport Minister Jose Luis told broadcaster TVE. “From late June, we’ll start tourism activity, I hope. We must make Spain an attractive country from a health point of view.”

Portugal

Portugal has announced it will re-open its beaches from 6 June. The prime minister, Antonio Costa, said that sunbathers will need to comply with social distancing rules, which in Portugal require a distance of 1.5m separation, as The Independent reports.

Capacity of beaches will be reduced, but holidaymakers can download an app that will notify them if there is sunbathing space available.

Greece

Greece’s tourist season will officially begin in June, the country’s prime minister has announced. Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an address: “The tourism period begins on 15 June, when seasonal hotels can reopen. Let us make this summer the epilogue of the [Covid-19] crisis.” As well as hotels reopening in mid-June, the PM added that international flights to popular destinations across the country would resume in July.

France

France’s borders are scheduled to reopen, initially with Switzerland and Germany, on 15 June, but the country has extended its state of emergency measures until at least 24 July, with non-essential trips outlawed and overseas arrivals required to self-isolate for two weeks.

Iceland

Iceland aims to welcome international travellers back by 15 June, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has announced. However, according to Bloomberg, visitors will be required to undergo a Covid-19 test upon arrival and be declared negative to avoid a 14-day quarantine.

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is expected to become the first Caribbean island to reopen to international tourists on 4 June, Insider reports. Visitors will have to present a negative coronavirus test upon arrival, and should expect temperature checks at the airport, hotels and in restaurants, as well as mask and social-distancing requirements.

Cambodia

Cambodia has removed its ban on visitors from some countries, imposed since mid-March 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP) national news agency reported that foreigners from Iran, Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the US are allowed to enter Cambodia, but with some conditions.

The AKP report added that all travellers entering Cambodia will be required to have a health certificate, which confirms that the passenger has been tested for Covid-19 and obtained a negative result. A health risk assessment will also be applied to anyone entering the country. In addition, foreign nationals must provide proof of insurance coverage during their intended stay in Cambodia with a minimum medical coverage of at least $50,000.
This article was first published on 18 May at 20:30 GMT. It was last updated on 22 May at 18:00 GMT.