Travel Headlines: Country Reopenings, Outdoor Activities & Trip Planning

Global COVID-19 Travel Headlines: Updated Weekly

On June 17, 2020, our world passed the milestone of 8 million cases of COVID-19. Six million of these were reported in the last two months. There have been more than 435,000 deaths and cases continue to rise in the Americas, Africa and South Asia. In the US alone, the latest reporting from the CDC says there are over 2.1 million cases and over 116,000 deaths. (Source: CDC)

While some countries are opening in phased rollouts, this is not over. This week, New Zealand, which had been declared COVID-free, now has two cases. Bejing is anticipating a second wave in China. Canada and the US have extended the border opening until July 21. And Australia today announced it may not open to tourists at all this year.

But there is hope. According to WHO, there was welcome news of positive initial results from the RECOVERY trial in the United Kingdom with Dexamethasone, a common steroid, which has been shown to have a beneficial effect on those patients severely ill with COVID-19. Read: WHO welcomes preliminary results about dexamethasone use in treating critically ill COVID-19 patients.

In this article, we share some of the news sources that we rely on, covering country openings, outdoor activities and tips for safe trip planning. One proviso: the news is constantly changing so please check for the most updated information from local health and safety organizations.  We also remind you that the World Health Organization (WHO) is the expert source for health advice. Be safe! 

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GLOBAL

IATA Interactive Global Travel Regulations Map (Updates Live) 

The International Air Transport Association’s online interactive map shows most countries’ travel restrictions and rules.

July 16, 2020, Coronavirus Travel Restrictions, Across the Globe, New York Times 

Nations across the world have imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Here, the current list of countries and territories limiting entry.

July 6, 2020: Coronavirus: What’s happening around the world on Monday, CBC News

India overtakes Russia to become 3rd worst-affected nation by COVID-19. India is now the world’s third worst-affected country, behind only the United States and Brazil. 

June 26, 2020: Wear the Damn Mask: Masks and travel restrictions continue as virus cases surge, Travel Industry Today 

Governments and businesses are ramping up precautions as coronavirus case numbers rise to dire new levels in parts of the US and around the world, potentially wiping out two months of progress.

CANADA

Government of Canada Travel advisories: Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada and avoid all cruise ship travel until further notice.

September 11, 2020, Government of Canada and partners improve process to notify air travellers potentially exposed to COVID-19 on domestic flights, Transport Canada.

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced today that Transport Canada, provincial and territorial governments, public health authorities, and Canada’s largest air carriers have established a consistent approach for air carriers to collect and share passenger information necessary to alert Canadians of possible COVID-19 exposure while travelling by air, in compliance with applicable privacy legislation. This would facilitate timely contact tracing and exposure notification for passengers on domestic flights.

September 3, 2020, Travelling to Canada? Here’s how to prepare for quarantine, Global News 

Global News has compiled a list of information from the Government of Canada’s website on what visitors must do once they arrive here as well as who is allowed to travel here and how they can prepare for entry and quarantine.

August 28, 2020: Canada extends restrictions on international travel until at least Sept. 30, The Globe and Mail 

Mr. Blair says Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are returning home to Canada will continue to be subjected to strict quarantine measures. Travellers coming to Canada will still be asked whether they have a cough, fever or are having difficulty breathing. New arrivals are required to quarantine for 14 days if they don’t have symptoms, or isolate for 14 days if they do.

August 3, 2020, Aloha! Canadians will soon be able to visit Hawaii without having to quarantine, CTV News 

Starting Sept. 1, “all trans-Pacific” travellers, including Canadians, will be allowed to visit Hawaii without having to quarantine, as long as they provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival.

July 27, 2020, Can I travel to another Canadian province during the coronavirus pandemic? City News

Travelling between provinces is allowed but still not recommended for many Canadians. While everyone entering Canada from abroad is expected to self-isolate for 14 days, not all inter-provincial travellers have to do the same. Each province has its own self-isolation rules

July 14, 2020, Canada-U.S. border closure to be extended for another 30 days, say officials, CBC News

CBC News has confirmed that the agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border will be extended into August. 

July 3, 2020: Up in the Air; How to Fly now in Canada, Travel Weekly 

In June 2019, Toronto Pearson had 130,000 passengers pass through its doors. Post-pandemic, in June 2020, that number has dropped to 5,000.

June 30, 2020: Travel restrictions to Canada remain in place for July holidays, Government of Canada

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reminding all travellers, ahead of the July 1 (Canada) and July 4 (United States) holidays, that travel restrictions are still in place at all Canadian international border crossings. These measures remain in place until at least July 21.

June 24, 2020: Atlantic provinces agree to regional COVID-19 pandemic bubble, CBC News

Bubble will begin July 3; visitors from outside the region must adhere to local entry requirements

June 19, 2020, Reopened: The lastest list of reopened destinations (For Canadians), TravelWeek News

As the world begins to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more destinations are welcoming back visitors. Airlines, hotels, resorts and ground handlers have invested heavily in health and safety protocols and are eager to welcome travellers back.

That said, the federal government’s advisory warning Canadians against non-essential travel to destinations outside of Canada is still in place. That’s an issue for getting travel insurance.

June 16, 2020, Canada Eases COVID Restrictions, Travel Industry Today 

Provinces have been releasing plans for easing restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. When it comes to travel, tourism and hospitality here is what the provinces have announced so far.

June 16, 2020, Coronavirus: Canada-U.S. border shutdown extended to July 21, Global News

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the coronavirus border shutdown between Canada and the United States is being extended again, this time until July 21. The 30-day extension comes as U.S. case numbers climb above two million and several states report surges in new cases amid a patchwork response between the federal and state governments there.

June 11, 2020, New government-imposed entry requirements,  Air Canada

The Government of Canada has restricted non-essential travel of foreign nationals across its border. Foreign nationals wishing to enter Canada by air for optional, non-essential or discretionary purposes will not be permitted. Non-essential travel includes travelling for purposes such as tourism, sightseeing, recreation, entertainment, social visits and religious functions.

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USA

July 14, 2020: CDC Calls on Americans to Wear Face Masks to Prevent COVID-19 Spread, CDC

In an editorial published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), CDC reviewed the latest science and affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities. There is increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.

July 7, 2020: I’m a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go? New York Times 

For Americans eager to resume international travel, here are the countries that currently allow U.S. citizens to enter, though there may be restrictions.

July 6, 2020: U.S. tops 130,000 deaths from COVID-19 after record surge in cases, Reuters

The number of U.S. coronavirus deaths exceeded 130,000 on Monday, following a surge of new cases that has put President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis under the microscope and derailed efforts to restart the economy.

June 17, 2020, Tracking the Coronavirus in your State, NPR (Always updating)

This page is updated regularly. More than 2 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 110,000 have died. The growth in new cases and deaths overall have at least temporarily slowed, but that pattern hasn’t been consistent across the country. New hot spots are emerging as others subside.

Many states began relaxing some social distancing measures in May, and health leaders are watching for signs that the virus is starting to spread more aggressively. In the graphics below, explore the trend in new cases in your state to see whether cases are rising, falling or staying level. To jump to a map of total cases and deaths by state, click here.

June 12, 2020: Canadians can still travel to the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic — just not by car, CBC

Many Canadians are unaware that, even though they’re currently barred from driving to the U.S. for leisure travel, they can still fly to the country. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told CBC News that its travel restrictions apply only to Canadians trying to enter the U.S. at land border crossings, which includes travel by car, train, ferry and pleasure boats. However, Canadian air passengers can still enter the country as long as they haven’t visited Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the U.K. or 26 European countries in the Schengen Area 14 days prior.

May 17, 2020 : AAA Travel: Travel Map (Live, always updating)

As the country reopens and COVID-19 restrictions change, consult the AAA COVID-19 Travel Restrictions map for county, city and state data, such as roadway travel checkpoints, border crossing closures and national land closures in the U.S. and Canada:

Jun 11, 2020, Hawaii extends mandatory quarantine for out-of-state visitors, Travel Weekly

The mandatory 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state arrivals to Hawaii will continue until July 31 as part of the state’s efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, Hawaii Gov, David Ige announced in a June 10 press conference.

June 14, 2020, A guide to the differences between Anchorage’s new COVID-19 travel policy and the state’s, Anchorage Daily News

The state of Alaska recently implemented a testing-based policy that provides more flexibility for travellers from out of state who want to avoid a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Hours before that took effect June 6, Anchorage released its own plan to help prevent travellers from spreading the coronavirus. Anchorage’s plan lays out restrictions on what indoor spaces travellers can access for the first two weeks after they arrive unless they pass an additional round of testing.

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EUROPE + THE UK

July 13, 2020, Summer travel: Which countries in Europe have opened their borders? Euronews 

The EU has recommended the bloc opens its external borders from July 1 to 15 countries. These are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China (although China is subject to confirmation of reciprocity).

July 6, 2020, Which countries can UK holidaymakers visit without restrictions on arrival? The Guardian 
A guide to countries that UK tourists can now visit, in light of the government’s updated travel corridor list. On Friday, the Department for Transport (DfT) published its list of travel corridors, with 74 countries (including 14 British overseas territories). Arrivals from this list of countries (both overseas tourists entering and UK nationals returning) will not face quarantine in England – although Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to announce if and when they will lift the restrictions. In addition, the Foreign Office (FCO) updated its advice for a list of 67 countries it no longer considers high-risk, to allow for non-essential travel, although many of these countries still have their own restrictions or bans in place.

June 30, 2020: E.U. Formalizes Reopening, Barring Travelers From U.S., The New York Times 

The bloc will allow visitors from 15 countries, but the United States, Brazil and Russia were among the notable absences from the safe list.

June 15, 2020, Europe’s borders reopen to on-continent travellers, but countries expect long road for tourism to recover, USA Today

Borders opened up across Europe on Monday after three months of coronavirus closures that began chaotically in March. Many restrictions persist, it’s unclear how keen Europeans will be to travel this summer and the continent is still closed to Americans, Asians and other international tourists.

Border checks for most Europeans were dropped overnight in Germany, France and elsewhere, nearly two weeks after Italy opened its frontiers. The European Union’s 27 nations, as well as those in the Schengen passport-free travel area, which includes a few non-EU nations such as Switzerland, aren’t likely to open to visitors from outside the continent until at least the beginning of next month, or possibly later.

June 13, For Much of Europe, Reopening Day is Here, The New York Times

On June 15 and 16, a tentative welcome mat is being laid out for visitors in many European countries and a few Caribbean islands. In most places, Americans won’t be on the invitation list.

April 2020 (Updated)  How Europe is Reopening, Country By Country, AFAR

Europeans are starting to venture outside after weeks of confinement, scarred by a virus that has overwhelmed some of the world’s best healthcare systems and killed more than 120,000 in the continent, yet yearning to rediscover signs of normalcy. Leaving lockdown looks different in Berlin than it does in Madrid, however, as each government sets its own rules and pace for letting Europe’s half a billion people taste freedom again.

June 16, 2020, What do the UK’s new travel rules mean? Lonely Planet

As of 8 June, anyone entering the UK from another country will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to anyone arriving in by plane, ferry, train or car. Arrivals must fill in an online form, known as the public health passenger locator, with their contact and address details up to 48 hours before entering the country. Failure to fill out the form could result in a £100 ($113) fine. Spot checks will be made and those caught breaching the quarantine rules are subject to a £1000 ($1130) fine, or a £3200 ($3615) fine for supplying incorrect information.

June 15, 2020, How Countries in Europe are Reopening, CN Traveler

After a tough few months in Europe, which saw borders closed, cities in lockdown, and tens of thousands of deaths from COVID-19, early signs of normality are appearing as countries in Europe reopen. Italy reopened its internal borders on June 3, and June 15 saw a flurry of activity: France lifted restrictions in Paris; Germany, Belgium, Croatia, and Switzerland opened up to European travellers; and Greece reopened its borders to some international arrivals. The Schengen zone—which comprises the majority of countries in the European Union—was also due to lifting its internal travel bans across the entire region on June 15, however, with infection rates still up and down, many countries have opted not to ease restrictions yet, and non-essential U.S. travellers are still banned from most European countries until at least July 1. But don’t get too excited. For starters, the U.S. State Department is still advising citizens against all international travel. That means that if you do get on a plane, any travel insurance—something that’s of paramount importance right now—would be invalid.

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ISRAEL

July 6, 2020, Israel locks down again after coronavirus spike, Aljazeera 

After largely containing the spread of the virus and lifting restrictions, Israel has been hit by a rise in infections.

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ASIA

June 16, 2020, “Beijing closes all schools, bracing for a 2nd wave of the coronavirus” Insider

  • Beijing, China, is seeing a resurgence of the coronavirus after more than 50 consecutive days without a new case.
  • Facing the threat of a second wave, the capital city has ratcheted up its emergency response, closing all schools and reducing foot and car traffic.

June 10, 2020: “Post-Pandemic, Will Bali Rethink Tourism?” The Diplomat

After COVID-19, what do Balinese want their island’s ‘new era’ to look like?

As one of the world’s top travel destinations, the impact of COVID-19 on the Indonesian island of Bali has received intense media scrutiny — and speculation. After foreign arrivals and transits were temporarily suspended on March 31, by mid-April most international media coverage had shifted from stranded tourists to those seeing out the pandemic in paradise.

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INDIA

June 17, 2020, Coronavirus Live Updates, Times of India

In India, total cases of coronavirus has crossed the 3.54 lakh-mark, as per the latest updates, with the death toll nearing 12,000. Live Updates here.

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AUSTRALIA

June 17, 2020, Australia ‘very unlikely’ to allow foreign tourists in 2020, Australian Financial Review

Australia’s international borders are unlikely to reopen this year, Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has warned, in a blow to hopes of a full and early recovery for the country’s pandemic-hit tourism industry.

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SOUTH AMERICA

June 17, 2020, Brazil Reports Big Surge In Coronavirus Infections, NPR

Brazil on Tuesday reported a national record of nearly 35,000 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period, even as the government has insisted that the outbreak is under control. The health ministry added 34,918 new cases, but Brazilian media, in collaboration with state health departments, said the figure was probably undercounted by a few thousand. The ministry also announced 1,282 additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total to more than 45,000 since the pandemic began. In the number of confirmed cases and deaths attributed to the disease, Brazil now ranks second only to the U.S.

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CARRIBEAN

BAHAMAS

July 19, 2020, American tourists barred from entering Bahamas due to COVID-19 cases; other countries still allowed, USA Today 

American tourists will be barred from entering the Bahamas amid the re-surging COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address Sunday. Minnis said there would be an exception for flights from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. Visitors by air or sea from these countries will be required to show a negative COVID-19 rapid test result from an accredited lab.

July 2020, Bahamas Travel Requirements, Bahamas Tourism 

(Click the image to enlarge)Travel requirements - COVID-19 - Bahamas

via The Islands of Bahamas Tourism

CUBA 

June 30, 2020, New Cuban tourism system to isolate visitors from population, BNN Bloomberg 

With the coronavirus waning in Cuba, the government plans to restart its tourism industry by sending visitors to five narrow islands that will offer all-inclusive vacations and keep foreigners isolated from the rest of the nation. The state-run system scheduled to debut Wednesday is designed to reopen a vital source of economic activity without reintroducing the virus to the country of 11 million people, where new cases have dwindled to just a handful a day

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GETTING OUTDOORS

May 23, “From Camping To Dining Out: Here’s How Experts Rate The Risks Of 14 Summer Activities” NPR

It has been around two months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But what’s safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household.

One big warning: Your personal risk depends on your age and health, the prevalence of the virus in your area and the precautions you take during any of these activities. Also, many areas continue to restrict the activities described here, so check your local laws.

June 11, 2020 “What Outdoor Activities are Safe?” Outside Magazine

We scoured dozens of status updates to better provide an overview of where some of our favourite pastimes stand, and we asked William Miller, an epidemiologist at the Ohio State University, how much risk each of the following activities pose. While there’s no such thing as a risk-free outing right now, being well-informed and making smart decisions can lead to a safer and more active summer.

For the latest information on reopenings and recommended protocol, visit the state, park, or individual websites of the places you’re considering.

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PLANNING TRAVEL

June 16, 2020, Quick Accurate and Cost Effective Testing: IATA Wants What We All Want, Travel Industry Today

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released criteria for the use of COVID-19 testing for travel. Should governments choose to introduce COVID-19 testing for travellers arriving from countries considered as high risk, testing must deliver results fast, be able to be conducted at scale, and operate to very high rates of accuracy. Additionally, testing must be cost-effective and not create an economic or logistical barrier to travel.

 June 16, 2020, “The Latest: Should You Change Your Travel Plans Due to the Coronavirus?” Fodors

Coronavirus travel restrictions are very slowly being lifted, but it can still be hard to differentiate between the facts, misinformation, sensible precautions, and overreaction.

June 15, 2020, “Why no mask?” The New York Times

Despite announced safety policies, many passengers on flights are not wearing masks—and flight attendants have been told not to confront them, the New York Times reports. Travellers say that on some flights, there are not even announcements about the mask-wearing policy. “Airlines have said follow the guidelines, but don’t enforce them, don’t tackle people to the ground and don’t turn flights around if they don’t listen,” the Times quoted Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, as saying. “That gets around to the public, then it’s, ‘I don’t have to do this. There are no consequences if I don’t do this.’ That, too, can lead to conflict, not just with the flight attendants, but with other passengers, who get angry and all of a sudden we have to break up a fight.”

June 12, 2020: “How to Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance Works”, AFAR

Once actual events have unfolded, such as the current coronavirus outbreak, or natural disasters have struck, they are considered known or foreseeable events and are no longer covered by most travel insurance policies. The exception is an optional upgrade to most travel insurance plans known as “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage, or CFAR.

June 9, 2020: “WTTC Gives Global Safety Stamp to Destinations Around the World” travelpulse.ca

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has recognized several marquee destinations around the world with its global safety and hygiene stamp identifying places that are prioritizing traveller safety and hygiene in the time of COVID-19. Turkey, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Mauritius, Ontario (Canada), Portugal, Saudi Arabia and tourist-friendly Mexican destinations such as Baja California Sur and the Yucatan have each adopted the WTTC’s “Safe Travels” standardized health and hygiene protocols.

June 4, 2020, “How to Make Flexible Travel Bookings Amid Coronavirus” AFAR

The good news is that in an effort to court nervous travellers, many airlines, hotels, vacation rentals, car rental companies, and other travel businesses have baked added flexibility into their reservation systems to compensate for COVID-19—for now. Some of the policies won’t last much longer, so it’s important to know where you will be locked in and where you won’t.

Here are some tips for making sure that you can book with confidence, knowing that if something comes up, or you get cold feet, you can reschedule or table your trip.

May 30, “Thinking About Flying? Where’s What you Need to Know” The New York Times

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Before You Plan Travel Please Consult:

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