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U.S. is taken off of EU safe travel list, allowing for COVID restrictions

The move is a reversal from the EU Council's June decision, which allowed all U.S. travelers to enter during the summer tourism season.

Updated: August 30, 2021 - 5:16pm

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The U.S. has been removed from the European Union's safe travel list, a move that will allow member states to reimpose COVID-19 restrictions on American tourists while still allowing those who are fully vaccinated to continue nonessential travel.

This is a reversal from the EU's decision in June, before the summer tourism season, which recommended restrictions on all American travelers be lifted, the Associated Press reported.

The nonbinding guidance issued on Monday allows for EU member states to determine their own border restrictions during the pandemic, which means that Americans will experience differing travel rules between countries.

"Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed [on the safe list] ... is subject to temporary travel restriction," the EU council said in a statement. "This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travelers."

American travelers would have to be vaccinated by any of the shots approved by the EU, which include AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer.

Restrictions can include extra testing requirements after arrival, quarantines, and even a complete ban on all travel from the U.S. that is nonessential, according to the AP.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified that the EU travel restrictions apply to unvaccinated Americans. She added that "the fastest path to reopening travel is for people to get vaccinated, to mask up and slow the spread of the deadly virus."

The U.S. has not reopened its borders to EU tourists, in spite of the union's request to do so, the wire service reported.

Psaki also said that federal agencies are working on developing a COVID-19 policy for international travel, which may include stronger protocols for testing and ensuring full vaccination of visitors from abroad.

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