Germany plans to ease foreign travel restrictions from June 15, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday.
Speaking to reporters after a videoconference with foreign ministers representing popular EU summer destinations, Maas said that given the improving infection numbers in many countries, a general travel warning covering the whole world is no longer merited.
The German interior ministry last week announced that quarantine rules would no longer apply from June 15 to people arriving from EU countries, the U.K. and the Schengen area.
“We hope that on June 15 we will be able to replace the general travel warning with travel advice,” Maas said, adding that any such advice would be coordinated with the respective countries while “the top priority is the health of guests and hosts.”
The minister’s remarks follow increased speculation as to whether Europe’s summer holiday season would be possible given the coronavirus pandemic.
Maas said that while there would be some summer travel within the EU, this year’s holiday trips “probably won’t have much to do with the vacation you’ve known.” He warned that travelers should expect restrictions everywhere, from bars and restaurants, to beaches and city centers.
He also said that certain restrictions would be reimposed if there were signs of a second wave of infections.
Responding to questions, Maas said Germans should not take June 15 as the “date when everyone should go on vacation,” but rather a cautious benchmark aimed at making planning easier for prospective tourists.
On a visit to the German-Austrian border, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that if there was continued improvement in combating infections “we will strive to achieve the goal of completely eliminating border controls after June 15.”
“This requires that we remain disciplined and careful,” he said.