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Published on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

EU promises 'there will be a tourist season this summer'



 





The European Union has proposed a gradual lifting of borders to allow tourism to resume.


Economic affairs commissioner Paolo Gentiloni promised there will be a tourist season this summer, 'even if it's with security measures and limitations'.


The EU said citizens will gradually resume domestic and then intra-European travel.


"Lifting restrictions too quickly may cause a sudden resurgence of infections," it said.


Austria and Germany have become the latest countries within the EU to agree to remove travel restrictions with free movement of people expected to return by mid-June.


The EU's plan, which countries are not obliged to follow, involve the different states working together to gradually remove travel bans and then border checks.


They would start by allowing seasonal workers across borders before lifting restrictions on travel between the different states. Only then will they consider allowing visitors from outside the EU, it said.


Measures should be introduced by members states to maintain social distancing in tourist areas and limit the spread of the virus, added the EU guidance published on Wednesday.


These would include limiting the number of guests in hotels and in public areas such as the swimming pools and on the beach, making more hand-washing and sanitising facilities available, more thorough cleaning of rooms and public areas, dispensing with buffets 'where possible' and replacing them with table-service with diners seated at least two metres apart, and suspending or postponing entertainment and children's clubs.


The EU recommended hotels consider slot booking options for meal times, sports facilities, sun loungers and visits to the gym.


When physical distancing cannot be fully observed, alternative measures should be considered to protect guests and workers, such as the use of glass or plastic teller panels and wearing of masks.


It warned that resort areas much have sufficient health care capacity for both locals and tourists, so that in the event of a sudden increase in Covid-19 cases, GPs and local hospitals are not overwhelmed.


"Remote touristic areas may have limited health care services and if considerable additional number of visitors can be expected, they may require the implementation of additional response mechanisms, such as medical evacuation flights," it said.


"Before relaxing measures, including the resumption of tourism, member states must have systems in place to be able to monitor and respond to changes in indicators of health service capacity," it added.

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