What the U.S. Travel Ban Means for Travelers

The Johann Strauß Memorial in Vienna's Stadtpark

By Anna Breuer on 12 March 2020
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Companies in the travel industry rushed to respond to the new U.S. travel ban early Thursday after President Trump restricted travelers from 26 European countries for the next 30 days.

The ban goes into effect Friday at 11:59 p.m. EST.  Unlike what the administration first said, the ban applies only to people, not cargo.  The United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland are both exempt from the ban.

The new restrictions will prevent most non-U.S. citizens and residents who have visited countries in the Schengen Area within a 14-day period from traveling to the United States.  U.S. citizens and holders of green cards are exempt, along with their immediate families.

Meanwhile, the European Commission was critical of the ban, which was announced without warning at 3 a.m. Central European time.

“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

Airlines were blindsided.

“We are currently assessing the situation and the impact of the ban,” said Christina Semmel, a spokesman for German flag carrier Lufthansa told FBT by telephone. “The health and safety of our passengers and crewmembers are of the upmost importance at this time.”

The Schengen Area is an area comprised of 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and other types of controls at their mutual borders. Not all are members of the European Union.  The 26 Schengen countriesare Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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