France Loosens Entry Rules for Vaccinated EU Travelers

France will allow vaccinated travelers from the European Union to enter without showing negative Covid-19 tests starting June 9, a move designed to ease travel before the traditional summer holiday season.

The looser rules unveiled Friday for one of the world’s top destinations will organize countries into three categories, with visitors from so-called “green” nations accepted with proof of vaccination. These include all EU members as well as seven others ranging from Australia and Japan to Singapore and South Korea.

The U.S., Canada, U.K. and most of the rest of the world are classified as “orange,” and vaccinated travelers will require negative PCR or antigen tests. Those who haven’t been inoculated can only enter for valid reasons and will need to self-isolate upon arrival for a week. So-called red-zone countries include Brazil, India and South Africa, for which severe restrictions will remain in place.

“We have to reconcile the principle of mobility with the principle of health security,” Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, junior minister for tourism, told BFM TV in announcing the rules. “Nothing would be worse than to fall back into an umpteenth wave of Covid in coming weeks or coming months because we haven’t taken sufficient precautions.”

More than a year on, the pandemic continues to roil European travel, even as the crucial summer vacation season approaches. The U.K. announced it’s removing Portugal from its green list of countries that can be easily visited, sending airfares soaring as vacationers rush back to Britain before a quarantine requirement kicks in on Tuesday.

In France, the move to ease entry comes as the rate of vaccination in the country has picked up and as a concerted effort among EU countries is under way to get immunity passes up and running. France stands to benefit from easier travel within Europe, but without a re-opening of borders for U.S. visitors, hotels and restaurants may still see a shortfall in coming months.

French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said Friday EU countries “have validated certificates” for vaccines that will be accepted as authentic and safe from fraud.

Restrictions on travelers from the U.K. remain because of the spread of the Delta variant -- first identified in India -- circulating in the country. In the U.S., a lack of digitalized proof of vaccination is an issue, Djebbari said in an interview on CNews.

“We’re in discussions with them,” he said, adding that the goal is to reopen travel with North America -- Canada and the U.S. -- and parts of Africa and some countries in Southeast Asia for this summer.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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