Covid regulations are still in flux around the world. Here's a country-by-country roundup of what's happening.
In the latest news, China announced a full reopening to travelers today and is now resumed issuing all categories of foreign visas, effective immediately. Japan no longer requests that people wear masks indoors and on public transit. Hong Kong eliminated face-covering requirements for indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as public transportation beginning March 1. The city's mask mandate had been in place for 959 days, and was strictly enforced with fines of up to US$1,000. Meanwhile, Macao eased outdoor mask restrictions on Feb. 27 and now allows indoor venues such as casinos to set their own face-covering rules. As of Feb. 14, travelers arriving to Fiji by air or by sea are no longer required to present proof of Covid vaccination and travel insurance.
South Korea removed entry restrictions for short-term travelers from China on Feb. 11, but has maintained testing requirements. On Feb. 13, Singapore lifted predeparture-testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers, as well as the mask mandate on public transit.
The House of Representatives will consider a bill that seeks to end the Covid-19 vaccination mandate for international visitors — a requirement that the government recently extended until at least April 10, and likely until May 11, when the administration intends to end the public-health emergency. As it currently stands, all non-U.S. citizens must show proof of having received at least two Covid vaccine doses or an accepted single-dose vaccine. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced H.R. 185 to end the mandate now and prevent such rules in the future.
"We have long supported the removal of this requirement and see no reason to wait until the May expiration of the public-health emergency — particularly as potential visitors are planning spring and summer travel," said U.S. Travel Association executive vice president of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes, in support of H.R. 185. "Every day this policy remains in place encourages some travelers to avoid the U.S., costing us valuable visitor spending and delaying our efforts to reignite inbound travel."
Reopening status in countries that banned or restricted events
Aruba lifted all entry requirements for international travelers in March 2022. Tourists are still required to fill out an Aruba Embarkation/Disembarkation card and purchase Aruba Visitors Insurance prior to arrival. All local Covid-19 protocols have
already been lifted.
In October 2022, Australia ended the mandatory five-day quarantine for anyone who tests positive for Covid-19. The mask mandate for domestic and inbound international flights was lifted the previous month.
Since July 2022 travelers have no longer needed to show proof of vaccination or complete the digital passenger declaration in order to enter the country. Covid-19 testing requirements for inbound travelers were lifted in April 2022.
Other Covid-19 restrictions vary by region. Travel updates can be found on the Australian Department of Health's website.
As of March 2022, a negative test result is no longer needed for entry to events, bars, restaurants and other activities. Nightclubs have reopened, a midnight curfew for restaurants and bars ended, and limits on event sizes were removed. Masks are no
longer required on public transportation and in pharmacies.
Visitors to the Bahamas no longer have to take a rapid test on the fifth day after arrival. They must still take a PCR test within 72 hours before travel and apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa,
regardless of vaccination status.
Bermuda dropped all Covid-19 restrictions in November 2022. Visitors no longer need to show proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test result or medical insurance that covers the duration of their stay. The requirement to complete a travel authorization form prior to visiting has also been removed. Details and Covid-19 updates can be found on the Bermuda Tourism Authority's website.
Safety First: Planner Musts for In-Person Meetings
The return of in-person meetings is well underway, but Covid-19 remains a risk in group settings. Northstar Meetings Group's latest research report considers the complete range of health and safety services relevant to meetings of all sizes and types, and provides comprehensive insights as to the safety measures planners intend to implement. Download it here.
The Canadian government allowed the vaccine mandate for international travelers to expire at the end of September 2022. Masks are no longer required on airplanes, random testing at airports has been eliminated and cruise ship
passengers do not have to show a negative Covid-19 test prior to embarkation. More details can be found on the Canadian government's website.
Additional Covid-19 restrictions vary depending on the province and
territory. The Canadian government has also released a risk-mitigation tool for event planners.
The U.S. lifted travel restrictions with Canada in November 2021. Fully vaccinated Canadians are able
to enter the country via the land border or by ferry for nonessential reasons. Proof of vaccination is required, and those who are not vaccinated are not allowed to enter. Essential travelers from Canada also need to show proof of vaccination. Canadian
travelers can fly into the U.S. with proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within one day prior to travel.
The Cayman Islands dropped all remaining Covid-19 restrictions in August 2022. Vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers can enter the British Overseas Territory without needing to show proof of vaccination, presenting a negative Covid-19
test or completing a travel declaration. Mask mandates have also been lifted. Updates can be found on the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism website.
Fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to show a negative PCR test result prior to entering the country, but still must provide proof of vaccination. Those who are unvaccinated must present a negative PCR test taken within
48 hours of departure. Chile has also replaced its Mobility Pass, which was required for entry to public spaces and on public transportation, with vaccination certificates. Details can be found on the government's website.
On March 15, China fully reopened its borders to foreign travelers and resumed issuing all visas that had been paused during the pandemic. In addition, visa-free entry for travel to Hainan Island and cruise ships docking in Shanghai has restarted. Visitors traveling from Hong Kong and Macau to the neighboring Guangdong province also have regained visa-free privileges. The announcement did not specify whether negative Covid-19 tests or proof of vaccination would be required moving forward. Currently, travelers to China must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of departure in order to enter the country.
China has been gradually rolling back pandemic restrictions over the past several months. Quarantine measures were lifted on Jan. 8. China and Hong Kong removed quota limits on cross-border travel between the two entities on Feb 6.
Travel restrictions were lifted in March 2022. The requirement to show proof of vaccination or present a negative Covid-19 test
result taken within 24 hours prior to arrival in Denmark has been removed.
All other Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in February 2022. Masks are no longer required in restaurants, shops and on public transit. Social distancing and limits on indoor gatherings have been eliminated. The national Covid pass app is no longer required
for events, although organizers can still choose to use it.
Covid-19 restrictions for international travelers entering England were removed in March 2022. Visitors no longer need to complete
a passport locator form, and the requirement for unvaccinated visitors to complete Covid-19 tests prior to departure and on day two of arrival was dropped. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland adopted the same travel policies.
Face masks are no longer required in public spaces, including on public transportation and in shops.
On Feb. 14, Fiji eliminated all remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions. Visitors are no longer required to show proof of full vaccination or possess travel insurance that covers the virus. The pretravel-testing requirement was previously eliminated in September 2022. Details and updates can be found on Tourism Fiji's website.
France lifted all Covid restrictions for international travelers in August 2022. Visitors no longer need to test before arrival, show proof of Covid-19 recovery or present proof of vaccination in order to enter the country.
France had previously ended the requirement to show vaccine passports for access to restaurants, bars, events and other venues. People no longer need to wear masks in most indoor spaces, including shops, offices and schools, nor on public transit.
The latest travel and Covid-19 updates can be found on the government's website.
On Feb. 2, Germany will drop a mask mandate for long-distance buses and trains. There are no Covid restrictions in place for people traveling from countries that are not classified as high-risk Covid areas. However, those traveling from areas of concern, such as China, must register their visit online and provide proof of vaccination, recent recovery from the virus or a negative test. Details can be found on the German National Tourist Board's website.
The country did away with most Covid restrictions by late March 2022. The first phase allowed private gatherings to resume, and ended the requirement to show proof of vaccination or recent recovery from the virus when entering shops. Phase two ended the requirement
for people to present proof of vaccination or recovery to access restaurants, bars and hotels. Nightclubs were allowed to reopen and outdoor events of up to 25,000 people have resumed.
Other restrictions can vary across the country, depending on regional Covid-19 rates.
International visitors no longer have to provide vaccination status or get tested prior to traveling. Greece lifted many restrictions for the summer 2022 tourism season.
Hong Kong will eliminate its mask mandate on March 1. Face coverings will no longer be required at indoor and outdoor spaces, or on public transportation. Certain high-risk locations, such as hospitals, might still ask people to wear face coverings.
"In order to give people a very clear message that Hong Kong is resuming to normalcy, I think this is the right time to make the decision," said the city's chief executive John Lee in a news briefing. The move marks the latest major step in Hong Kong's reopening.
Previously, on Feb. 6, China and Hong Kong removed the quota that limited cross-border travel between the two entities. Travelers crossing
the border are no longer required to show a negative Covid-19 PCR
test, either; only those who have traveled overseas within the previous
week need to produce a negative test result.
As of Jan. 30, Hong Kong has dropped its mandatory isolation rule for people with Covid-19. Those with symptoms and who test positive are encouraged to stay home, but people with asymptomatic cases do not have to quarantine. The only restriction remaining is the mask mandate.
Hong Kong removed more of its Covid restrictions on Dec. 29, including PCR tests for inbound travelers and vaccination requirements for certain venues like restaurants and bars. Close contacts of those who test positive no longer have to isolate and the limit of the number of diners per table at restaurants was lifted.
As of Dec. 14, international travelers no longer need to abide by amber-code restrictions, which had barred them from entering restaurants, bars and other venues during the first three days after arrival. The Leave Home Safe mobile pass app is no longer needed for entry to public spaces.
The Hong Kong government ended quarantine rules for overseas arrivals in September 2022.
Full travel rules and other Covid-19 updates can be found on the government's website.
Ireland removed all travel restrictions in March 2022. Travelers no longer need to show proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative test result to enter the country. They are also not required to get tested or self-isolate upon arrival. Face masks
do not have to be worn, but are recommended on public transportation. The latest travel updates can be found on the government's website.
Israel no longer requires a negative Covid-19 test to enter the country and dropped the requirement that travelers isolate for up to 24 hours upon arrival until they receive their test result. Travel updates can be found on the government's
Proof of vaccination is no longer needed for restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, hotels, event venues and nightclubs. The mask mandate for indoor public spaces has been lifted.
Italy dropped all restrictions in June 2022. Per the changes, travelers are no longer required to present proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test result or proof of recent recovery from the virus in order to enter the country. The requirement to wear
face masks indoors and on public transport was lifted in April 2022. Details and updates can be found on the government's website.
Jamaica lifted its mask mandate and dropped the testing requirement for international visitors in April 2022.
On March 13, Japan dropped its request that people wear masks indoors and on public transit. However, most people in the country continue to wear them, according to the Associated Press. Even at the height of the pandemic, Japan never legally required mask-wearing, but it became common practice.
The country plans to downgrade Covid-19 to the status of the flu beginning May 8. This will remove self-isolation rules and allow Covid patients to get treatment at any hospital instead of only specialized facilities.
As of Dec. 30, Japan requires all visitors from mainland China to test for Covid-19. Those with a positive result must quarantine for seven days at a designated facility.
In October 2022, Japan dropped its daily cap on the number of travelers allowed into the country. Visa requirements for visitors were lifted and individual travel resumed. Previously, travel was restricted to Japanese citizens, foreign
students, some business travelers and visitors who had purchased a guided- or self-guided tour. Updates on travel guidelines can be found on the Japan National Tourism Organization's website.
As of Feb. 27, face coverings no longer need to be worn in outdoor public places. However, masks are still required in hospitals and on public transportation. Indoor venues now have the ability to set their own mask rules. Details and updates can be found on the Macao Government Tourism Office's website.
Non-U.S. travelers coming from Mexico to the U.S. must be vaccinated and provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of traveling to the U.S.
The Mexican Ministry of Tourism has implemented the Clear Point Quality Seal certification system to indicate restaurants, bars, hotels and other tourism providers that are following
the highest safety protocols. There are no Covid-related travel restrictions for international visitors.
As of September 2022, all Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted. Visitors are therefore no longer required to show proof of full vaccination or recent recovery from the virus in order to enter the country.
Additionally, the digital Covid-19 pass is no longer needed to enter nightclubs and large events, and the face mask mandate has been dropped. Details can be found on the government's website.
New Zealand dropped its traffic-light system of Covid-19 restrictions in September 2022, and removed face-mask requirements. In addition, incoming travelers and aircrew no longer need to show proof of vaccination or to complete post-arrival testing. However,
anyone who contracts Covid-19 is required to quarantine for seven days.
The country fully reopened its borders in July 2022, with travelers from nonwaiver countries and international students again allowed to apply for visas. The move marked the final phase of the country's reopening plan. New Zealand also opened
its maritime border, allowing cruise ships and recreational vessels such as foreign yachts to return.
Restaurants, bars, retail shops and other businesses no longer need to require vaccine passports for entry, although they can continue using them if they so choose. The latest updates on travel and Covid-19 can be found on the government's
Unite Against Covid-19 website.
As of February 2022, masks are no longer required in crowded places and social-distancing rules have been lifted. Self-isolation requirements also have been replaced with a recommendation that infected people stay home for four days. Norway dropped its quarantine
rule for unvaccinated travelers as well, and reversed its ban on selling alcohol in restaurants and bars. Learn more at the government's page on Covid-19 restrictions.
Vaccinated tourists do not have to provide a negative test to enter Portugal. A negative Covid-19 test is no longer required for entry to business events, cultural shows, nightclubs, sporting events, tourist attractions
and local accommodations.
Face masks are no longer required in public indoor settings with the exception of public transport and health-care facilities. Details on the latest gathering and travel restrictions can be found on Visit Portugal's website.
Travelers no longer need to provide a negative Covid-19 test result in order to enter the country. The requirement to show proof of vaccination also will be eliminated, and the mandate to wear face masks in indoor public places and on public transportation has been lifted.
Saint Lucia dropped its pretravel testing mandate for international visitors. Vaccination requirements have also been removed. Details can be found on the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority's website.
Scotland's indoor mask mandate was lifted in April 2022. Face coverings are no longer required in shops and restaurants, or on public transport. Covid passports are no longer needed for nightclubs and sports venues. Scotland lifted most of its Covid-19 restrictions in January 2022. Nightclubs were allowed to reopen, large indoor events resumed and the social-distancing rules were dropped. Restrictions on outdoor events were lifted as well.
Details and updates can be found on Visit Scotland's website. Travel restrictions have been lifted in coordination with England and the rest of the U.K.
Beginning Feb. 13, Singapore will allow unvaccinated travelers to enter the country without a negative predeparture Covid test. The country also will remove the mask mandate for public transportation. The Covid task force, created in January 2020, will be deactivated.
South Africa dropped all remaining Covid-19 restriction in June 2022. There are no longer vaccination or testing requirements to enter the country. The indoor mask mandate and gathering limits were also lifted.
South Korea will remove entry restrictions for short-term travelers from China that were imposed at the start of the year, and visa applications will resume at consulates in China beginning Feb. 11. However, testing requirements will remain in place, mandating that travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macao provide a negative test taken within 48 hours of departure and test again upon arrival. Officials said those restrictions could be relaxed later depending on Covid developments.
In September 2022, South Korea eliminated the requirement for international travelers to show proof of a negative PCR test prior to entry. However, visitors still must complete a PCR test within one day of arrival in the country and quarantine until they receive
their results. Full details on travel restrictions can be found on the Korea Tourism Organization's website.
Spain will end its face-mask mandate on public transportation in February. Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said she would recommend that the order be lifted when the Cabinet meets on Feb. 7. Masks still will be required in hospitals, health clinics and pharmacies.
Spain lifted all Covid-19 entry rules in October 2022. Travelers no longer need to present proof of vaccination, a negative test results or documentation of recent recovery.
In addition, masks are no longer required in indoor or outdoor public spaces. All capacity and social-distancing restrictions on hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, cultural venues, trade shows and exhibitions have been removed.
St. Maarten dropped its remaining Covid-19 restrictions for international travelers in November 2022. Visitors no longer need to present proof of vaccination or a negative test result prior to entry. Details and updates can be found on the government's website.
Sweden dropped all remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions in April 2022. Travelers no longer need to show proof of vaccination
and a negative test result prior to arrival.
Nationwide measures to curb the pandemic were lifted in February 2022, including restrictions on public and private gatherings, leisure venues, sports, restaurants and more.
The requirement to wear face masks on public transportation and the work-from-home advisory also were removed.
Switzerland dropped all remaining Covid-19 restrictions in May 2022. Travelers from all countries are allowed to enter the country and do not have to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result. Switzerland also eliminated use of the Covid-19
certificate and its mask mandate, including on public transportation. Travel details and updates can be found on Switzerland Tourism's website.
On Jan. 9, Thailand rescinded a vaccine mandate for international travelers that was set to take effect. The government had previously removed the requirement for travelers to apply for the Thailand Pass and have $10,000 worth of health insurance. The mask mandate has also been lifted.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates has ended the requirement to wear face coverings in public spaces. Masks are only needed on public transportation, in medical facilities and in mosques.
Fully vaccinated international travelers do not have to provide a negative PCR test upon arrival. Unvaccinated people can visit the UAE, but must present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure.
Events can be held without capacity limits. The latest updates on travel and Covid-19 restrictions can be found on the government's website.
All testing requirements for international travelers have been lifted.
A negative Covid-19 test is no longer needed to enter the country. Vietnam dropped its quarantine requirements for international visitors in March 2022, and lifted all restrictions on international flights the previous month, restoring the