American tourists? Germany says “Nein!”

Jun 12, 2020

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After months of closed borders due to coronavirus, some countries around the world are starting to open up for tourism. Unfortunately for Americans, that doesn’t include U.S. citizens in most places.

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Many European countries are still off-limits to Americans — and that includes Germany. Reuters is reporting Germany has extended a travel warning for 160 non-European countries until at least the end of August advising citizens not to travel.

Berlin August 2019. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
Berlin August 2019. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Beginning mid-June, Germany will welcome travelers restriction-free from other European Union countries. Travel restrictions will be lifted for Britain, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland as well.

Related: Complete guide to Europe reopening

Much of Germany has begun to lift internal restrictions. Hotels reopened with new safety measures. Tourist attractions such as museums, galleries, parks, bus and boat tours have resumed. Concerts and movie screenings up to 200 people are also permitted with movie theaters slated to fully reopen June 30. Many attractions are now offering visitors selected time slots and the ability purchase tickets online. The latest business sector allowed to reopen was restaurants, bars and pubs, but only from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

However, Germany has taken other precautions to prevent a surge of people gathering and spreading the virus. Oktoberfest, a staple event in late September, has already been canceled.

Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Germany has had more than 187,000 cases of coronavirus and 8,851 deaths as of June 12.

The EU is also set to permit foreign travel again on July 1, but again that doesn’t apply to Americans. In an unprecedented move, the EU shut its borders to all foreign travelers in March in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been hesitant to follow behind other European countries like hard-hit Italy that recently lifted restrictions and is allowing more tourists.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a statement said, “We cannot and will not risk Germans being stranded all over the world again this summer or holiday-makers returning to Germany with the virus undetected.”

Related: Greece opens to some tourists

EU countries are required to have a system in place to monitor the spread of coronavirus from travelers, large testing capacity, a health care system that can meet any surge in population and contact tracing. Countries with high rates of infection (like the U.S.) won’t be in the first wave of visitors as the E.U. is developing a criteria to determine who is allowed to enter.

As more countries look to reopen, the idea of so-called ‘travel bubbles’ are being embraced in countries around the world. These are zones between countries believed to have controlled the spread of COVID-19. They go by different names, including air bridges, sky bridges, green lanes and green zones. They allow travel — essential or otherwise — without long quarantines between citizens of countries who have flattened the curve of coronavirus infection and appear to have the outbreak under control.

In-depth: What are travel bubbles?

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have already formed the “Baltic bubble” that permits their citizens to move freely between the countries.

Austria is reopening its borders with Germany, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. But it’s still not allowing free movement of citizens from hard-hit Italy.

The opening of international borders will be a slow process as boxes are checked off the pandemic recovery list. In the meantime, you might want to check out our state-by-state guide to where you can travel domestically.

Related: A country-by-country guide to Caribbean reopening

The United States has had more than 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus out of the 7 million worldwide.

Additional reporting by Clint Henderson. 

Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

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