As you have probably heard, there was a big announcement from the President last night regarding travel from Europe to the US. As the administration works towards containing the spread of the Covid-19 virus domestically, they are taking some very big steps to prevent the further introduction of new cases to the US from abroad for the next 30 days. I have been keeping updated by watching the Coronavirus Task Force's press conferences as well as tuning in to the calls on the topic presented by Chester County and the local authorities in addition to speaking with my partners around the globe.
When the headline regarding the 'flight ban' on European countries crossed my screen last night, I immediately had a lot of questions, as I am sure you do too. Upon looking into what is being proposed, I can tell you that this is not a restriction on US citizens or their immediate families. If you want to read the statement from the Department of Homeland Security click here. This is for residents of Schengen countries (nations who signed the Schengen treaty allowing for the completely free movement of people across their respective borders). For a list of the 26 Schengen countries, click here. The United Kingdom is not a Schengen member, so they are not included in this.
Here is a bit more information regarding the travel ban:
Can US citizens traveling in Europe come home early? Yes, airline are offering waivers for changes. This is based on airline availability.
Do US citizens currently traveling in Europe have to be home by Friday at midnight? No, the ban does not restrict the movement of US citizens
Upon arrival back in the US, will travelers be quarantined? As of now, no. You would only be quarantined if you are returning from countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (China, Iran, Italy, South Korea) For more information on returning from High Risk Countries, click here. That being said, some work places will require you to self-quarantine, so this could be different depending on where you work.
How long will this European travel ban last? 30 days
Can US citizens still travel to and around Europe? Yes
Who does this travel ban apply to? Taken from the Department of Homeland Security: (WASHINGTON) Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation. (Department of Homeland Security) Click here to read the Department of Homeland Security update in full
All that being said, this remains a fluid situation with daily, often hourly changes. I cannot predict what will happen next, but I can tell you that I am glad to see these restrictions being put in place now, so that we have the very best chance of having this virus more under control going forward.