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Face Masks and Social Distancing: The State of Tourism in Europe

Europe was, for a long time, the continent most affected by the novel coronavirus. In the first few months of the year, several countries saw the number of cases and casualties explode, and most of them closed down to prevent the spread of the disease. The people, locked into their homes and under constant stress and anxiety due to the many alarmist and contradictory news circulating in the press and on social media.

While the first big wave of the pandemic seems to have passed in most European countries, the stress levels of the populations are still high, lashed up by news like those about Canada’s recent mass shooting, the spreading protests in the US, and an ever-increasing wave of anti-racist movement in the streets of many European countries.

For most, the idea of a vacation spent away from the turmoil of everyday life seems just what the doctor ordered. But in the aftermath of the epidemic, not even the vacation will be the same as before, constantly reminding tourists of the looming danger.

Travel limitations

Several countries are in the process of reopening their borders as we speak. Many of the biggest and most popular tourist destinations – countries where tourism is an important contributor to the economy – have been planning to embrace vacationers already. But not all of them will have the freedom to enter all countries. In most cases, countries only allow tourists arriving from places where the epidemic is under control to enter their territory, and will refuse the entry of others. As such, it is important to check out sites like London x city before you book tickets to your holiday destination.

In general, countries only allow visitors from the European Union to enter, plus a few countries from the European Economic Area. Those coming from the rest of Europe (and, in some cases, the UK), and from overseas (with a very few exceptions) will have to stay away.

Social distancing

But even those who will be allowed to travel to popular European tourist destinations will have to observe strict restrictions.

First of all, they’ll have to undergo spot coronavirus tests (in Greece, for example) and temperature controls (in Spain, and pretty much everywhere else). In many cases, tourists will have to also submit details about where they’ll stay and where they can be contacted (for contact tracing) – in some cases, they’ll only be allowed to enter if they have a valid reservation for lodging.

The time spent on the beach will also be pretty strange, to say the least. First of all, the number of people allowed to sunbathe on the beaches will be limited. People will have to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters between them – the sunbeds will be placed at least this much apart. The beach bars and food stalls will be open but seating won’t be allowed – they’ll only work on a take-away basis in most areas. Tourists will have to always use a towel on sunbeds, and the beds themselves will have to be disinfected after every use. Hotels will also likely adhere to extra safety measures, with periodic disinfecting of the premises, leaving rooms vacant for a few days between visitors, and resorting to room service instead of their indoor restaurants.

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When the pandemic hit, many thought the 2020 summer travel season will go down the drain. Now that summer is here, it seems that the situation is not as bad as many have expected – Europe’s beaches and resorts can open, and recover at least in part from the shock caused by the pandemic. 

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