Parts of Europe Return to Lockdown: What Travelers Need to Know


IIf you are planning to spend the holidays at a German Christmas market or on a beach in Greece, you should know that security measures related to COVID-19 are back across Europe. This time around, much of it comes in the form of restrictions on those who are not vaccinated in response to increasing case rates.

Some parts of Germany have already imposed local restrictions that prevent unvaccinated adults from accessing certain public spaces. Other proposals would only allow people who have been vaccinated, cured or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test to take public transport.

In addition, only people who have been vaccinated and people recovered from COVID have access to museums, restaurants and events in Baden-Württemberg, while unvaccinated people will no longer be allowed in bars and clubs in Hamburg. German health officials reported earlier this week that the seven-day incidence rate of new COVID-19 infections had reached a new high.

“The fourth wave is hitting our country hard,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this week.

Meanwhile, in Greece, unvaccinated people will be barred from entering most indoor spaces, including restaurants, theaters, museums and gymnasiums, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised address this week. .

In addition, Austria has announced measures to prevent unvaccinated people aged 12 and over from entering many public spaces, including hotels, restaurants, gymnasiums, theaters, hairdressing salons, etc. ., while also requiring face masks in most public spaces.

These are far from the only European countries with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, and many other countries have recently added – or are considering adding – new rules.

What to do if you are traveling to Europe

Whether or not you are vaccinated, you may want to postpone a trip to Europe given the increased rate of cases. Or, maybe you are continuing your visit. Either way, here’s what you need to know:

Know how to cancel your trip

A positive result of the pandemic: most modification and cancellation policies have improved. Check yours out, as most travel agencies offer either full refunds or account credits, even though previous refund policies were strict.

When booking, consider buying a travel insurance policy with Cancellation coverage for any reason if you have non-refundable charges. This type of insurance will typically earn you 50-75% of all non-refundable travel costs, regardless of your reason for canceling.

Proof of vaccination pack

While it certainly doesn’t hurt to bring the physical card, it’s also a good idea to pack a digital version through an app like CLEAR’s Health Pass, which can prevent loss or damage to the original when you enter it and take it out of your wallet. .

Just be aware that not all countries or establishments will accept digital versions, so check your destinations before relying on digital evidence. A country may have specific requirements to prove your immunization status, whether that is an app, digital download, or physical copy. If you don’t want to download an app, you can also take a photo and save it to your smartphone to keep proof of vaccination at hand.

Make a backup plan

A museum you were planning to visit might suddenly close, curfews might go into effect, or you might need to put on a mask when walking around Europe. Now more than ever, your trip may not go as planned given the evolving EU rules on COVID-19. But you can have some control by having a backup plan.

Carry extra medicine or essential items that cannot be easily acquired abroad if you suddenly have to quarantine yourself. Know which airports you can fly to if your scheduled flight is canceled. And for a trip to Europe – or elsewhere these days – pack your patience.

The bottom line

Several European countries have added new sets of COVID-19 restrictions this week, and more are likely to follow. If you are planning a trip to Europe, be aware that the rules may be different from those in the United States, and they can also change at the last minute.

While the recent period of restrictions will likely only affect unvaccinated travelers, understand that the impact of the pandemic on every country is different and you need to prepare for it.

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Sally French writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SAFmedia.

The Parts of Europe Return to Lockdown: What Travelers Must Know article originally appeared on NerdWallet.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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