Updated Jan. 13, 2021
European countries that implemented early Covid-19 restrictions, including closing nonessential businesses and limiting gatherings, might have saved several thousand lives according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many parts of the world continue to battle coronavirus outbreaks, leaders have paused the reopening process and announced new constraints on travel and gatherings. (Click here to read our listing of state-by-state gathering restrictions.)
In the latest news, Mexico and Canada have extended the closure of their land borders with the United States until at least Feb. 21. Canada has also issued a stay-at-home order for the Ontario province (see below). England, which is currently under lockdown, will require all visitors entering the country by plane, train or boat to show a negative test result, beginning Jan. 15 (see below).
Also in Europe, Italy has extended its state of emergency until the end of April (see below). Meanwhile, the Netherlands will remain under lockdown until Feb. 9 (see below). A partial lockdown in Germany will continue until at least Jan. 31, and the country now requires travelers from high-risk areas to take two Covid-19 tests (see below). Meanwhile, Portugal’s parliament has renewed its state of emergency until at least Jan. 30 (see below), and a national lockdown in Greece will remain in effect until Jan. 18 (see below).
In Asia, Japan has ordered a state of emergency in Tokyo and its surrounding areas after hitting a new record of Covid-19 cases (see below).
A few countries are beginning to loosen Covid-19 measures. France lifted its lockdown on Dec. 15, although large gatherings remain prohibited and restaurants cannot reopen until Jan. 20 (see below). Meanwhile, Singapore plans to launch a new travel lane in January that will allow a limited number of business, official and high-economic-value travelers into the country for up to 14 days (see below).
Reopening status in countries that banned or restricted events
Aruba opened to tourists from Europe, the Caribbean and Canada on July 1 and the U.S. on July 10, though all visitors are required to take a Covid-19 test prior to arrival
or once they get to the Aruba airport. Those coming from a number of states must complete additional testing, uploading their negative results online within 72 hours
before their flight. Travelers who choose to get tested at the airport will have to quarantine for up to 24 hours while awaiting results (which take an average of six to eight hours to come back), and those who test positive must remain in isolation
until testing negative.
This country has slowly loosened lockdowns since its government announced a three-stage plan in May for easing restrictions. Melbourne, which has been
under strict lockdown since July, loosened the rules starting Oct. 27. Restaurants, cafés and bars were allowed to reopen, and outdoor contact sports could resume. On Nov. 8, residents in Melbourne were longer restricted to traveling within 16 miles
of their homes. Beginning Nov. 23, face masks are no mandatory in outdoor situations where physical distancing is possible and venues are allowed to host up to 150 people indoors and 300 people outdoors, depending on the size of the event space. In the rest of the country, public gatherings range from up to 20 people in New South Wales to 50 in Queensland, and 350 people indoors and 1,000 people outdoors in Tasmania. Meanwhile,
the International Convention Centre Sydney has been given approval from the New South
Wales Department of Health to hold corporate events and conferences for up to 1,500 people. The gatherings must abide by the venue's EventSafe Operating Guide, with one person per four square meters and no more than 300 people per room.
A lockdown remains in effect until Jan. 24. Residents are required to stay home except for essential reasons. Culture and leisure facilities have been ordered to close, and restaurants can only offer takeout and delivery. Events have been cancelled and hotels can only serve essential travelers; leisure travel is not allowed. The latest reopening updates can
be found at Austria's travel portal.
The Bahamas began reopening its borders for commercial travel on July 1. Visitors are required to present
a negative COVID-19 test result and a health visa, and have their temperatures checked. After barring Americans from entry earlier this month as COVID-19 cases resurged, the Bahamas is once again welcoming travelers from the United States, though
Americans are required to complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
Belgium entered a second lockdown on Nov. 2, which is expected to last until Dec. 13. During this time, nonessential shops and businesses must close. Employees are encouraged to work from home and public gatherings are limited to a maximum of four people.
Bars and restaurants, which had been ordered to close for one month on Oct. 7, will remain shuttered for the duration of the lockdown. As cases began to rise after reopening, the country's leaders enacted a rule requiring masks to be worn in stores and on public transit, and residents returning from holidays must notify Belgian authorities 48 hours before their arrival.
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The border between Canada and the United States will remain closed until at least Feb. 21.
The Ontario province, which includes Toronto, issued a stay-at-home order on Jan. 11. Residents must remain home, except for essential reasons. Restaurants can only offer takeout, drive-through and delivery service.
As of Jan. 7, all travelers flying to Canada must show a negative PCR Covid-19 test result before boarding the plane. The test must be taken within 72 hours prior to departure. The new guidelines apply to all travelers age 5 and older. Travelers must still complete a 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arriving in the country, even if their test result is negative.
The first country to be hobbled by COVID-19, China has been steadily reopening its economy, first its manufacturing sector and gradually expanding with the reopening of theme parks,
hotels and other attractions returning, most recently cinemas and water parks.
Beginning Sept. 1, U.S. travelers will again be allowed to visit the country, as long as they are residents of New York, New
Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont or Connecticut. More states are expected to be added soon after. Previously, on Aug. 1, Costa Rica reopened its borders to residents of the European Union and Schengen Zone, the United Kingdom, Canada, Uruguay,
Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, China, Australia and New Zealand.
The Czech Republic has extended its state of emergency order until Jan. 22, and placed the country under level five of its five-tiered coronavirus framework. New restrictions include a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Public gatherings are now limited to two people. For weddings and funerals, a maximum of 15 people is allowed. Religious gatherings can continue at no more than 10 percent of the venue's seated capacity.
Travelers from all but six EU countries are now are permitted to enter the country, as long as they book for at least six nights,
but they must quarantine if they are coming from a city of more than 750,000 people. Visitors from Sweden are still prohibited. After imposing a nationwide lockdown, Denmark began easing its restrictions,
reopening shopping centers on May 11, restaurants and cafés on May 18, and permitting outdoor sports without spectators. Gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted, and larger gatherings are expected to be banned until at least August.
On Aug. 26, the Dominican Republic unveiled a new plan to encourage tourism
while ensuring the health and safety of visitors and residents. At the end of September, those arriving to the island nation will be subject to random Covid-19 tests upon arrival — replacing the current negative Covid-19 test required for entry. Hotel guests will also receive temporary, complimentary insurance coverage for emergencies, telemedicine and more. Social-distancing and mask-wearing is currently required for
After lifting the border restrictions for a number of Schengen and/or EU countries on July 13, this Scandinavian country has since reimposed travel restrictions. Due to rising cases, travelers coming from Iceland, Greece, Malta, Germany, Norway, Denmark,
Ireland, Cyprus, San Marino and Japan will be limited to essential trips beginning
Aug. 24, with people returning from those countries required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Indoor and outdoor public events and public meetings with fewer than 50 attendees are allowed. Gatherings of up to 500 attendees are permitted if social distancing
is ensured, and gatherings of more than 500 people are expected to be permitted beginning Aug. 31.
France is now gradually easing restrictions, following a month-long nationwide
lockdown. Shops were allowed to reopen on Nov. 28, and the lockdown was lifted on Dec. 15. Cinemas, museums and theaters are now allowed to reopen but residents must abide by a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Large gatherings are prohibited. Restaurants will remain closed until Jan. 20. A date has not yet been set for when bars can reopen. The latest updates can be found here.
Previously, gathering restrictions varied depending on a city's zone. In areas tagged as an "alert zone," gatherings were limited to no more than 30 people. For high-alert zones, public gatherings were limited to 10 people or fewer.
Germany has extended its lockdown until at least Jan. 31. Restrictions have been tightened, with residents only allowed to meet with one other person from outside their household. Those in coronavirus hot spots, with a seven-day average of 200 new cases per 100,000 people, are prohibited from traveling more than 10 miles from their homes for nonessential reasons. Bars, theaters, gyms, nail salons and other leisure facilities remain closed, and restaurants are only allowed to provide takeout. Chancellor Angela Merkel also announced that beginning on Jan. 11, travelers entering the country from high-risk areas will need to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of departure. Upon arriving in the country, a second test will be required. Travelers will also need to quarantine for 10 days, or 5 days if their second test result is negative.
Previously, on Sept. 15, Germany's government declared that trade shows were "essential" and excluded from its ban on mass gatherings that has been in effect since May. The latest travel information can be found here.
A nationwide lockdown has been extended until Jan. 18. During this time, people are encouraged to stay home and nonessential businesses must close. Those who leave for work, exercise or medical reasons must send a text message to the authorities. A daily curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. is also in effect. Restaurants can only offer delivery service, and public gatherings have been suspended. Anyone traveling to Greece from abroad must show a negative Covid-19 test result.
Hong Kong and Singapore have delayed until 2021 their plans to enter an air-travel bubble, which would have allowed travelers between the cities to avoid a quarantine by presenting a negative Covid-19 test before they left, when they arrived and before they returned. Rising cases in Hong Kong has delayed
As of Dec. 23, all flights from Great Britain have been suspended.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board is developing standardized hygiene and anti-epidemic protocols for tourism-related industries. The new guidelines, which are being developed in partnership
with the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency, aim to boost visitors' confidence in traveling to the region. More than 1,800 businesses have expressed interest in the protocols. Restaurants
have been allowed to reopen, as long as they collect "health declarations" at the door and five feet of space is maintained between tables, with no more than 50 percent occupancy.
Hungary imposed its strictest coronavirus measures to date on Nov. 10. The new restrictions include a curfew from 8 p.m. to
5 a.m. Businesses must also close by 7 p.m., and restaurants will only be allowed to serve takeout food. Family gatherings cannot exceed more than 10 people. Other events have been banned. The measures have been extended until at least Jan. 11.
Iceland began allowing international visitors from Europe's Schengen area on June 15, with the option of taking a COVID-19 test upon arrival or spending 14 days in quarantine. Restaurants, bars, gyms and night clubs have been allowed to reopen, and public gatherings of up to 200 people are permitted.
A lockdown in Ireland will continue until Jan. 31. Under the level-five restrictions, museums and nonessentials shops must close. No organized indoor or outdoor gatherings are allowed. Restaurants and bars can only serve takeaway food and delivery.
Italy has extended its state of emergency until the end of April. Travel between regions, except for work or health reasons, has been banned until Jan. 15. A national curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. remains in effect across the country, and bars and restaurants can only provide takeaway service. Additional Covid-19 restrictions vary by region depending on a color-coded system.
The country has suspended flights to and from Great Britain. As of Jan. 7. entry will only be permitted to residents and for reasons of work or study. All travelers must present a negative Covid-19 test, taken within 48 hours before departure. On Dec. 10, train travel between Switzerland and Italy was suspended indefinitely, according to the Associated Press. The Swiss federal railway service said it doesn't have the resources to carry out Italy's health requirements that train operators check passenger temperatures, even though travelers also must show they’ve tested negative for the coronavirus and carry travel authorization from their employers.
On June 15, the country began welcoming international visitors, conducting on-site health screenings at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Jamaica's government had previously announced a five-point recovery plan that will stagger the reopening of its attractions. Every hotel is required to designate a "COVID-19 safety point person" who conducts spot checks. Restaurants are open at 70 percent capacity, and gatherings
of up to 10 people are permitted.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and the surrounding areas, after recording its highest level of Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The new measures will be in effect from Jan. 8 through Feb. 7. Residents are advised to leave their homes only for essential reasons and must avoid gatherings. Restaurants have been ordered to close by 8 p.m.
In June, the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau released its "Guidelines for MICE Event Organizers for Infectious Disease Control," providing a detailed checklist for planners of meetings for before, during and after the event. These measures include "collaborative preparation with venues
and associate companies," "prevent close-contact settings" (complete with sample layout) and more.
Mexican authorities have extended the closure of the U.S.–Mexico land border until at least Feb. 21.
Most of the country's tourist destinations have reopened to visitors, with some restrictions. The state of Quintana Roo began implementing the WTTC's "Safe Travels" health and safety standards for tourism-related businesses, including hotels, restaurants, bars and tour companies, requiring businesses to receive a certification indicating that it has met these standards
before reopening. Beaches in the state are currently closed to all but resort guests. Los Cabos reopened
to tourists June 15 and has been following its "A Safer Way to Get Away" plan, with destination-wide guidelines and certifications, and a partnership with Intertek Cristal's Protek Destination Assurance program. Mexico City continues to reopen, as businesses including bars, cinemas, public pools and museums now allowed to open, despite an uptick in cases.
The Netherlands has extended its lockdown through Feb. 9. All nonessential shops have been ordered to close, along with museums, theaters and salons. Bars and restaurants can only serve takeout and are required to close by 10 p.m. Business gatherings are restricted to no more than 100 people. Face masks are required in indoor spaces and on public transportation. Residents are encouraged to travel
as little as possible and nonessential foreign travel is discouraged until mid-January. The latest updates can be found here.
After enacting some of the most stringent lockdown measures in the world, New Zealand had lifted restrictions on June 8, and went on to report more than 100 days without community transmission of the virus. But a recent resurgence of cases has led officials
to raise Auckland to Alert Level 3,
restricting how businesses interact with customers and limiting gatherings to 10 people or fewer, while the rest of the country remains on Alert Level 2, allowing for gatherings of up to 100 people. Physical-distancing measures and tight border controls will remain. On June 3, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that when the country shifts down to Alert Level 1, all current restrictions on businesses and gatherings will be essentially lifted.
As cases have risen throughout Europe, Norway has introduced requirements that travelers arriving from Great Britain, Austria, Greece and Ireland, as well as the city of Copenhagen must quarantine for 10 days. On May 7, the limit to group size was increased from a maximum of five to 20,
as long as individuals remained at least three feet apart. Events of up to 200 participants at a time are now allowed in public places, and most businesses (including gyms, water parks and bars) are again open.
A state of emergency has been renewed and extended until at least Jan. 30. The country has been divided into four risk levels, each with its own restrictions. The lowest level for "moderate
risk" areas allows for weddings and baptisms of up to 50 people. All other events cannot exceed five people, unless the guests are all from the same household. Municipalities with "very high and extremely high" risk must follow the highest level of
restrictions, including a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends. Events with more than five people from different households are prohibited in these areas.
The island nation, which has been closed to international visitors since March 23, began the phased reopening of its tourism sector on June 4, with limited activities available when booked through registered hotels and travel providers. Hotels are required to meet specific sanitation and social-distancing criteria, and visitors will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of their flight, and they must use face masks and follow other precautions. Phase 2 should begin Aug. 1, with details expected to be released soon.
Scotland moved to the highest level of its five-tier system of coronavirus restrictions on Jan. 4. As part of the level-four lockdown, schools must remain closed and residents are required to stay home with only a few exceptions. Nonessential shops have been ordered to close, while restaurants and bars are limited to takeout service. Indoor gatherings with nonhousehold members are prohibited. Outdoor gatherings cannot exceed more than two people.
Singapore has announced [email protected], a plan to allow a limited number of business, official and high-economic-value travelers into the country as part of a new travel lane that will be open to all countries. Applications will open in mid-January and the first travelers will be welcomed later that month. The program only allows stays of up to 14 days. Visitors must agree to taking multiple Covid-19 tests prior to and throughout their stays. In addition, all travelers will be housed in dedicated "bubble" facilities.
An air-travel bubble with Hong Kong, which was due to begin on Nov. 22, has been delayed until 2021. The bubble would have
allowed visitors traveling between the cities by flight to present a negative Covid-19 test before they left, when they arrived and before they departed in order to avoid quarantining.
Currently, the Singapore Tourism Board allows business events of up to 250 people, with the permission of the board and following specific risk-mitigation measures. Attendees must be spread out across five zones of 50 people each. Singapore will move to phase 3 of reopening on Dec. 28. The STB has launched the SG Clean initiative to audit the sanitation practices of all types of facilities; those that put the measures in place will earn a certification from the STB.
After reducing the numbers of new cases, the government began to loosen its strict social-distancing rules on May 6. But a spike in new cases led officials to enforce stronger social-distancing restrictions for Seoul, Incheon and the nearby Gyeonggi province,
prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. High-risk locations including nightclubs, karaoke rooms and computer gaming cafés have been closed.
A state of emergency, which was declared on Oct. 25, has been extended until May 9 by the Spanish Parliament. A nationwide curfew is in effect, from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., with some exceptions for commuting to work, buying medicine, and caring for elderly
and young family members. Regional leaders will have the ability to modify the curfew, close regional borders to travel and limit gatherings to no more than six people from different households.
Until further notice, the country has suspended flights from Great Britain, except for those carrying Spanish citizens or people with Spanish residency.
On Sept. 8, Spain became the first European country to surpass 500,000 Covid-19 cases, so the country's leaders have paused some of their reopening plans, closing night clubs and late-night bars, while prohibiting outside drinking and smoking in a number
of regions, as well as expanding a mask-wearing mandate beyond public transportation
Sweden is imposing its toughest coronavirus restrictions to date. Beginning Nov. 24, gatherings of more than eight people will be prohibited. The measure is expected to remain in place until Dec. 6. Unlike other countries in the region, Sweden's government
avoided a significant lockdown, leaving shops, restaurants and bars open and asking that citizens voluntarily
keep their distance from one another. Previously, gatherings of up to 50 people were allowed.
As of late December, the country has suspended all incoming travel from Great Britain and Denmark until further notice.
On Dec. 10, train travel between Switzerland and Italy was suspended indefinitely, according to the Associated Press. The Swiss federal railway service said it doesn't have the resources to carry out Italy's health requirements that train operators check passenger temperatures, even though travelers also must show they’ve tested negative for the coronavirus and carry travel authorization from their employers. On June 15, Switzerland opened its borders with Austria, France and Germany. One of the first countries to ban large events and among the first nations to see an ebb in new cases, Switzerland began easing its lockdown restrictions earlier than expected.
Bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen on May 11 rather than June 8, as originally planned.
Schools, museums, gyms and libraries also started welcoming patrons on May 11. Public and private events of up to 300 people as well as "spontaneous gatherings" of up to 30 people are allowed. Officials expect travel restrictions within the Schengen area will also be largely lifted July 6.
United Arab Emirates
On Oct. 1, Dubai will again permit international meetings to take place in the city. The destination's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has released guidelines for safely hosting business events, including precautions that should be taken by travelers on their flights, at the airport, at their hotels and while taking part in the event itself. Previously, on July 7, Dubai had welcomed
its first international tourists since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit. The city's leaders emphasized that the multipronged health and safety measures put in place across the destination have helped position it as a safe and attractive destination
as visitors cautiously resume their travel. Dubai has already reopened its gyms, theaters and retail shops, and citizens and residents are now permitted to travel oversees. On June 24, Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism reopened
a number of the destination's cultural sites to tourists, following strict health and safety guidelines. These include Louvre Abu Dhabi, Qasr Al Hosn, and the Cultural Foundation’s exhibition and Artists in Residence studio. Also reopening will be
Al Ain Oasis outdoor areas, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Al Jahili Fort and Al Ain Palace Museum. The organization has also introduced a destination-wide hygiene and safety initiative, called the Go Safe Certification program.
More restrictions have been implemented in England following the discovery of a new, particularly contagious strain of Covid-19. The country entered a new lockdown on Jan. 4, which is expected to last until at least mid-February. Schools have been ordered to close and people are encouraged to work from home. Nonessential shops also must shutter, and restaurants can only provide takeout. Residents must remain in their homes, except for food, work and medical reasons. Gatherings are not permitted with anyone outside of one's household or support bubble.
Beginning Jan. 15, anyone traveling to England by plane, train or boat will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result, taken within 72 hours before departure. All travelers arriving from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list will be required to quarantine for 10 days. Visitors can shorten their quarantine time by opting into the "Test to Release Scheme," which includes taking a second Covid-19 test on their fifth day of isolation.