Brussels – The European Commission believes EU countries can reopen borders with other member states for the tourist season if they have COVID-19 infections under control and well-prepared healthcare systems, according to a draft document made available to dpa.
“Handled correctly, safely, and in a coordinated manner, the months to come could offer Europeans the chance to get some needed rest, relaxation, and fresh air,” the guidelines, due to be presented later on Wednesday, read.
However, removing restrictions on movement brings a risk of a second spike in infections, the commission warns.
The European Union’s (EU’s) external borders will stay sealed until June 15, if its 27 member states stick to the commission’s advice from last week.
But within the bloc, capitals like Paris and Berlin are conferring on reopening shared frontiers.
While the decision to soften border controls is in the hands of each country in the EU, the bloc’s executive believes the peak tourism season of June to August could be partially clawed back.
Pandemic lockdown measures have virtually wiped out the tourism sector, worth directly and indirectly about 10 per cent of EU economic output, for the past two months.
As the situation improves in many European countries, blanket restrictions between areas with similar risk profiles should be replaced by a tailored approach, according to the proposal.
Under the recommendations, areas allowing increased movement must have sufficient hospital space as well capacity for testing, surveillance and monitoring.