US excluded from list of countries whose citizens can travel to EU
The decision was made amid soaring rates of Covid-19 infection in the US.
The European continent reopened to visitors from 14 countries but not the US, where some of the states that pushed hardest and earliest to reopen their economies are now in retreat because of an alarming surge in confirmed coronavirus infections.
The European Union’s decision came a day after Arizona governor Doug Ducey closed bars, gyms, cinemas and water parks, and officials in Republican and Democratic strongholds alike mandated the wearing of masks.
The EU extended its ban on visitors not just from the US but from China and from countries such as Russia, Brazil and India where infections are running high.
Britain dropped out of the EU in January and maintains its own rules, requiring arriving travellers to go into 14-day self-quarantine.
Americans make up a big share of Europe’s tourism industry, and summer is a key period.
More than 15 million Americans travel to Europe each year, while some 10 million Europeans head across the Atlantic.
The news was a blow to revenue-starved shopkeepers hoping for a summertime boom.
“Americans were 50% of my clientele,” said Paola Pellizzari, who owns a mask and jewellery shop on the Saint-Louis island in the heart of Paris and heads its business association.
“We can’t substitute that clientele with another.”
The Louvre museum is scheduled to reopen July 6.
“When I returned after lockdown, five businesses had closed,” Ms Pellizzari said.
“As days go by, and I listen to the business owners, it gets worse.”
Sharmaigne Shives, an American who lives in Paris, said she hopes her countrymen can turn things around soon.
“Paris isn’t Paris when there aren’t people who really appreciate it and marvel at everything,” she said.
“I miss that.
“Seriously, I feel the emotion welling up. It’s so sad here.”
A large share of the cases are among young people who are going out again to bars and restaurants.
States such as Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars or rolling back restaurant restrictions in some cases.
“Our expectation is that our numbers next week will be worse,” Mr Ducey said in Arizona, where for seven times in 10 days, the number of new cases per day has surpassed the 3,000 mark.
Los Angeles announced it will close beaches and ban fireworks displays over the Fourth of July.
And New Jersey’s governor said he is postponing the restarting of indoor dining because people have not been wearing masks or complying with other social-distancing rules.