UK not included as EU reopens borders for tourists

The UK is not included in EU plans to reopen borders and encourage tourism after months of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The plans include an interactive map to show tourists where they are able to go on holiday in Europe – but the UK is not highlighted.

A number of European countries have reopened, partially clearing the way for tourists to take overseas holidays this summer, but the UK is not among them, and only introduced its mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering it last Monday.

On the map, there is information about which tourists can travel to which European countries. Some allow travellers from the UK, although they will be subject to quarantine on returning to Britain.

German tourists arrive at Son Sant Joan Aeroport in Palma de Mallorca on 15 June as part of a pilot programme. (Getty)

The platform provides real-time information on borders, means of transport, travel restrictions, public health and safety measures such as physical distancing.

In Italy, for example, borders opened to EU member states, countries that are party to the Schengen Agreement, the UK, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City State and the Republic of San Marino.

Spain, in contrast, is still imposing a 14-day quarantine on arrivals until 1 July, with some exceptions.

The continent is still closed to Americans, Asians and other international tourists.

The EU’s 27 nations, as well as those in the Schengen passport-free travel area, which also includes a few non-EU nations such as Switzerland, are not expected to start opening to visitors from outside the continent until at least the beginning of next month, and possibly much later.

Announcing Monday’s reopening of borders and Paris restaurants, French president Emmanuel Macron said it is time “to turn the page of the first act of the crisis” and “rediscover our taste for freedom”.

Passengers wearing face masks arrive at Heathrow Airport on the first day of new rules that require people arriving in Britain from overseas to quarantine themselves for 14 days. (AP)

Read more: Coronavirus UK alert level remains at 4 despite lockdown being eased in England

But he warned: “This doesn’t mean the virus has disappeared and we can totally let down our guard. … The summer of 2020 will be a summer unlike any other.”

Meanwhile, it is unclear what summer travel for the UK will look like.

The UK Foreign Office continues to advise against all but essential travel and although trips abroad are not against the law, you will be subject to quarantine on your return.

For hundreds of thousands of businesses in the UK’s battered hospitality and tourism industry, quarantine – which came into force last Monday and means anyone arriving in the UK has to isolate in for 14 days – is a devastating blow.

The plan includes an interactive map to show tourists where they are able to go on holiday in Europe, however the UK is not highlighted as part of the map. (EU Commission)

Those arriving by plane, ferry or train – including UK nationals – must give an address where they will self-isolate. Rule-breakers will be fined.

Home secretary Priti Patel said the laws were designed "to prevent a second wave" of coronavirus.

A number of Conservative MPs have been pushing for “air bridges” – mutual agreements with other countries to allow travellers to fly in and out without coronavirus quarantine restrictions – but so far, nothing has been set in stone.

After non-essential retail restarted on Monday, 4 July is the provisional date for UK hospitality to reopen where social distancing is possible.

Read more: New Zealand's lockdown contained coronavirus. Now comes the hard part

Restaurants and bars starting reopening in some European countries at the beginning of May after weeks of closures.

But there is still caution after more than 182,000 virus-linked deaths and it remains unclear how keen Europeans will be to travel this summer.

In Spain, the 14-day quarantine still applies.

“We have got the pandemic under control, (but) the reopening of our frontiers is a critical moment,” Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday as he announced the nation is moving forward its opening to European travellers by 10 days to 21 June.

“The threat is still real. The virus is still out there,” he said.

Britain, which left the EU in January but remains closely aligned until the end of this year, only last week imposed a 14-day quarantine requirement for most arrivals, horrifying its tourism and aviation industries.

As a result, France is asking people coming from Britain to self-quarantine for two weeks, and several other nations are not even letting British tourists come in during the first wave of reopenings.

With flights only gradually picking up, nervousness about new outbreaks abroad, uncertainty about social distancing at tourist venues and many people facing record unemployment or pay cuts, many Europeans may choose simply to stay home or explore their own countries.

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter

Read more about COVID-19

How to get a coronavirus test if you have symptoms
How easing of lockdown rules affects you
In pictures: How UK school classrooms could look in new normal
How public transport could look after lockdown
How our public spaces will change in the future

Help and advice

Read the full list of official FAQs here
10 tips from the NHS to help deal with anxiety
What to do if you think you have symptoms
How to get help if you've been furloughed