Europe restricts visitors from US amid virus resurgence

Published July 1, 2020
In this Tuesday, April 7, 2020 file photo, a woman walks her dog on a Paris bridge, with the Eiffel tower in background, during a nationwide confinement to counter the Covid-19. — AP
In this Tuesday, April 7, 2020 file photo, a woman walks her dog on a Paris bridge, with the Eiffel tower in background, during a nationwide confinement to counter the Covid-19. — AP

The European Continent on Tuesday reopened to visitors from 14 countries, but not the US, where some of the states that pushed hardest and earliest to reopen their economies are now in retreat because of an alarming surge in confirmed coronavirus infections.

The European Unions decision came a day after Arizona Gov Doug Ducey closed bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks, and officials in Republican and Democratic strongholds alike mandated the wearing of masks.

The EU extended its ban on visitors not just from the US but from China and from countries such as Russia, Brazil and India that are seeing rapidly rising caseloads. Britain dropped out of the EU in January and maintains its own rules, requiring arriving travelers to go into 14-day self-quarantine.

President Donald Trump suspended the entry of most Europeans in March.

American make up a big share of Europe’s tourism industry, and the summer is a key period. More than 15 million Americans travel to Europe each year, while some 10 million Europeans head across the Atlantic.

The news was a blow to revenue-starved shopkeepers hoping for a summertime boom.

Americans were 50pc of my clientele, said Paola Pellizzari, who owns a mask and jewelry shop on the Saint-Louis island in the heart of Paris and heads its business association. We cant substitute that clientele with another.

The Louvre museum is scheduled to reopen July 6. Americans used to be the largest single group of visitors to the home of the Mona Lisa.

When I returned after lockdown, five businesses had closed, Pellizzari said. As days go by, and I listen to the business owners, it gets worse.

Sharmaigne Shives, an American who lives in Paris, said she hopes her countrymen can turn things around soon.

Paris isn’t Paris when there aren’t people who really appreciate it and marvel at everything, she said. I miss that. Seriously, I feel the emotion welling up. Its so sad here.

Across the English Channel, things are also headed in reverse.

Britain reimposed a lockdown in Leicester, a city of 330,000 people that officials said accounted for 10pc of all new coronavirus cases in the nation last week. Stores closed their doors, and schools prepared to send children home.

I opened my shop last week for the first time and saw an instant increase in orders, and now I worry this change will go back to no orders, said James West, who runs a design and printing business in Thurmaston, just outside Leicester.

In the US, places such as Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars in some cases amid a resurgence of the virus.

Our expectation is that our numbers next week will be worse, Ducey said in Arizona, where for seven times in 10 days, the number of new cases per day has surpassed the 3,000 mark.

Also on Monday, Los Angeles announced it will close beaches and ban fireworks displays over the Fourth of July. And New Jersey’s governor said he is postponing the restarting of indoor dining because people have not been wearing masks or complying with other social-distancing rules.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020

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