Today, the European Union made it official that Americans will not be allowed in when the bloc reopens to international visitors tomorrow (July 1). The New York Times reported that this was going to happen last week and I don’t think many in the travel business were surprised. If you were in charge, would you allow us to come in?
The 14 countries that are being allowed to enter the EU all have, as written here, “relatively lower rates of COVID-19 infections include: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. Travelers from the U.K. and four other countries in Europe — Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland — also remain exempt from the restrictions.” It’s embarrassing that the U.S.A. is not on this list.
One of the big reasons we’re not allowed in when the European Union reopens tomorrow—besides our government’s bungling of the pandemic—is that when the quarantine was over, Americans acted like COVID-19 was over, too. Many didn’t follow the simple protocols that included wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, washing your hands often, not touching your face…
According to TravelPulse.com, Arne Sorenson, the CEO of Marriott, said at a recent virtual meeting of the American Hotel & Lodging Association that “everyone wearing facial coverings would provide confidence to visitors that the property is following all health and safety guidelines.” He also went on record saying that “this issue has gotten far too politicized, which is a tragedy,” and I agree 100%. Sorenson then said, “and it’s complicated from a government perspective, because what are you permitted to actually require in a country like the U.S., where you’ve got a strong sense of personal liberty?”
“It’s also complicated from a business perspective,” Sorenson continued. “When you’ve got a hotel full of guests on Memorial Day weekend, you’re going to have a percentage of those guests that are going to want everyone wearing masks. And you’re going to have a percentage of guests that say, ‘I’m not worried about this.'”
You can understand the conundrum Marriott and other big brands face, which shouldn’t be the case. I think brands and travelers need to listen to the health experts and operate on the side of caution. All the noise about conspiracy theories and personal freedoms is ridiculous.
When a country doesn’t have a virus under control, that’s when personal freedoms are taken away. Europe is banning Americans, Brazilians and Russians because all three countries have completely bungled the COVID-19 pandemic. And it’s not only Europe that Americans are being banned from. Our nextdoor neighbor, Canada, along with dozens of other countries, are banning Americans, too. Not to mention U.S. states. Hawaii, for example, won’t let visitors in until August 1 without a 14-day quarantine, and then arrivals will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test from the past 72 hours.
In a full 180, New York, New Jersey and my childhood state of Connecticut are now requiring residents of some states to adhere to a 14-day quarantine. If you remember just a few months ago, the opposite was happening. “Cuomo said the order will apply to travelers from states that have identified 10 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 for every 100,000 residents on a seven-day rolling average.” As of today, that applied to 16 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington.
You want freedom? Wear a mask!