Yesterday, Trump shocked the nation and announced a European travel ban. However, it turns out that his statement wasn’t exactly true. So, let’s talk about Trump’s not a European travel ban.
During his Oval Office address to the nation, Trump stated that he’s suspending “all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.” According to his statement, the ban also includes cargo shipments from the continent, though the ban exempts the UK. I was floored when I heard this. But, apparently, Trump’s statements aren’t accurate.
Not a European Travel Ban
The supposed travel ban isn’t a geographic travel ban at all. Instead, like the China travel ban, the ban applies only to foreign nationals that have been in the 26 countries that make up the European Union within the 14 days prior to their arrival. US citizens may travel from Europe back to the United States, provided that they are screened before re-entering the country. The exemption also applies to permanent residents, the immediate family of US citizens, and other individuals identified in the proclamation.
You know what else was inaccurate in his? The ban on cargo. That’s not happening at all. Further, it’s not only the UK that is exempted from the ban. Non-Schengen European countries also aren’t included in the ban.
When the Ban Takes Effect
The announcement came on Wednesday evening on the US East Coast – or in the afternoon in Hawaii. But, the ban goes into effect at midnight on Friday. And by midnight, I’m guessing they mean midnight Eastern Time. That’s not a lot of time for people to make any necessary changes to their travel plans. As a result, I expect there to be a mad rush of people trying to get from Europe to the U.S.
As a result, I’d expect LONG lines at airports and incredibly long wait times on the phone. Through this all, though, it’s important to remember that the chaos you may experience isn’t the fault of the people assisting you. This is a government-mandated event. So, please, be patient and courteous to airline and airport personnel.
Trump’s Not a European Travel Ban, Final Thoughts
Even though the travel ban isn’t as bad as we initially thought, it’s still bad. There will be major repercussions from this decision – economically and otherwise. What’s more, while Trump says the ban is a way to protect the US from COVID-19, no ban currently applies to South Korea. And I find that odd, as South Korea has more confirmed cases than France, Spain, and Germany combined – at least as of March 11 at 9:30 pm HST.
Beyond the questionable nature of the ban, other questions remain. For example, do US citizens traveling back from Europe need to connect in non-Schengen European countries, Canada, or Mexico? If not, who will operate flights from Europe to the US during the ban? I’d guess no one, but still. And how are airlines going to handle this new curveball?