The European Union Wednesday announced its plan to help European citizens salvage their summer vacations and resurrect Europe's damaged tourism industry after months of coronavirus lockdowns.
At a Brussels news conference, EU commissioners stressed safety as they announced their gradual, careful steps to restart travel and tourism among European countries.
The commissioner’s over-arching advice is that EU countries with similar rates of coronavirus infections and comparably strong health care systems should begin lifting border measures between each other.
Earlier Wednesday, Germany announced, after consultations with its neighbors, the opening of its borders with France, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria.
Tourists from outside Europe cannot enter Germany until at least June 15.
The EU commissioners also announced guidelines for reimbursing consumers with vouchers for cancelled flights or other vacation plans that can be used for future travel plans. The vouchers, they said, would be preferable to cash reimbursements as they would encourage travel and not create a financial burden on cash-strapped airlines and travel companies.
Even with easing restrictions, social distancing rules would still apply, and Brussels is recommending that robust disease monitoring measures are put in place - including good testing capacity and contact tracing - so that people have the confidence to return to hotels and camping sites abroad.