Europe restricts visitors from the US amid virus resurgence

June 30, 2020
Passengers arrive at the Barcelona airport in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The European Union on Tuesday is announcing a list of nations whose citizens will be allowed to enter 31 European countries. As Europe’s economies reel from the impact of the coronavirus, southern EU countries like Greece, Italy and Spain are desperate to entice back sun-loving visitors and breathe life into their damaged tourism industries. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

The European Continent on Tuesday reopened to visitors from 14 countries but not the U.S., 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 Gov. Doug Ducey closed bars, gyms, movie theaters 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 U.S. 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 travelers to go into 14-day self-quarantine.

President Donald Trump suspended the entry of most Europeans in March.

American 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 jewelry 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. Americans used to be the largest single group of foreign visitors to the home of the “Mona Lisa.”

“When I returned after lockdown, five businesses had closed,” 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.”

Across the English Channel, things are also headed in reverse in places.

Britain reimposed a lockdown in Leicester, a city of 330,000 people that officials said accounted for 10% of all new coronavirus cases in the nation last week. Stores closed their doors, and schools prepared to send children home.

“I opened my shop last week for the first time and saw an instant increase in orders, and now I worry this change will go back to no orders,” said James West, who runs a design and printing business in Thurmaston, just outside Leicester.

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