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US residents keen on getting some much-needed R&R after months of lockdown will have to contend with fluctuating travel rules and reopening regulations. These differ from state to state, but the latest developments for the most popular destinations are as follows.
On 5 June, the California Department of Public Health gave individual counties the authority to permit various sectors of the economy to resume operations, including hotels and vacation rentals, bars, restaurants, wineries, museums and zoos, Afar.com reports.
Most county parks, trails and campgrounds have now reopened across the state.
There are no restrictions on travel into California from other states, and all of the state’s major airports, including Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport, remain open.
Beaches in Los Angeles County will be closed during the Fourth of July Weekend (July 3-6) “to prevent dangerous crowding that results in the spread of deadly Covid-19”, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has announced.
Anyone traveling to Florida from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Louisiana is currently required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Afar.com reports that upon arriving in Florida, each traveler is obligated to complete a form that includes the traveler’s contact information and trip details. Violation of the quarantine order is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $500.
Beaches in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have reopened.
Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando will also begin to reopen, with Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park opening on 11 July and Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on 15 July.
On 24 June, New York – along with New Jersey and Connecticut – decreed that travelers arriving from states where there is a high rate of Covid-19 (such as Arizona and Texas) must self-quarantine for two weeks.
Hotels have not been asked to close as they are considered essential businesses, but most hotels in New York City have either been closed or open only to house coronavirus patients, hospital workers and the homeless. Vijay Dandapani, the president and CEO of the Hotel Association of New York, told the New York Post: “Out of nearly 700 hotels, nearly half of them are closed.” He said some could start reopening in July, but “it hinges on how international and domestic travel pick up, and how the tech companies react to this.” He does not expect luxury hotels to reopen until August.
On 24 June, Mayor de Blasio announced that swimming will be permitted to resume at New York’s 14 miles of public beaches from 1 July, when lifeguards return to duty, Afar.com reports.
De Blasio further announced that the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks show will proceed this year, albeit differently. Starting on 29 June, there will be a series of five-minute firework displays in each of the five boroughs. In order to prevent crowding, the specific locations won’t be announced beforehand, Afar.com reports.
Then on 4 July, the “best of” moments, prerecorded from the previous five nights, will be televised along with a grand finale that will reportedly take place from the top of the Empire State Building, ABC7ny.com reports.
On June 4, casinos across the state began to reopen for the first time since Governor Steve Sisolak ordered the shutdown of the gambling industry and other non-essential businesses on 17 March.
However, travelers and residents of Las Vegas are now required to wear masks indoors in public places, meaning visitors to the city’s dozens of hotel-casinos must wear face coverings, Los Angeles Times reports.
Las Vegas resorts, restaurants and attractions have been reopening gradually. By the Fourth of July, 21 of the roughly 35 resorts along the Strip will be open and joining in the celebrations.
As of 21 May, all air-travel restrictions to Texas have ended, including temporary quarantines for travelers returning from California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Atlanta; Detroit, Chicago and Miami. All road travel restrictions have also been eliminated, travel website ThePointsGuy.com reports.
Parks, pools, natural caverns, water parks and zoos have reopened across the nation’s second-largest state, the New York Times reports.
However, at the end of June, the Lone Star State halted some of its reopening plans after a fresh spike in coronavirus cases. Texas closed all bars that make more than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcohol and, starting June 29, restaurants were once again limited to 50 percent capacity, Travel+Leisure reports.
Virginia’s stay-at-home order has changed to a “safer at home” order that expired on 10 June.
Virginia Beach reopened for Memorial Day weekend and all other public beaches had reopened by the end of May. Hotels have also resumed trade.
Most of South Carolina has reopened under guidelines encouraging social distancing and new sanitary requirements.
Restrictions on attractions and sports were loosened in late May, meaning that waterparks, amusement parks and zoos all reopened, ThePointsGuy.com reports.
While there are no current official Covid-19-related travel restrictions, the Grand Canyon state is recommending that visitors and residents avoid traveling through Navajo Nation, which is experiencing a significant outbreak, TravelPulse reports.
Most hotels and resorts in the state have reopened with new social-distancing and cleaning measures, and home sharing is once again permitted.
Questions have been raised regarding the reopening, which some say was premature, with the state seeing a spike in new cases and hospitalizations, ThePointsGuy.com reports.
Georgia has been making headlines since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak due to its lack of regulations. On 16 June, the Peach State removed capacity restrictions on movie theaters and allowed for walk-ins at salons, Travel+Leisure reports.
Almost all attractions in Georgia have been permitted to reopen, with some sanitary requirements in place, including hotels, gyms, restaurants, golf courses and tourist attractions.
Hawaii has some of the strictest Covid-19 regulations in the US, requiring people who travel to or between any of the islands to self-quarantine for 14 days – meaning that, for now, the tourism season is on hold in the Aloha State.
ThePointsGuy.com reports that a number of hotels, restaurants and cafés reopened in early June, but local reports noted that many customers have been charged “service fees.” Golf courses have also resumed business, while beaches are only open for exercise, fishing and food gathering.
The Department of State still advises US citizens (including those who live outside the States) to avoid all international travel due to Covid-19; however, the advisory is not mandatory.
The advisory also stipulates that “if you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside the United States for an indefinite time frame.”
US citizens who do choose to travel abroad may face a 14-day quarantine upon their return – although this will depend upon which state they reside in.
Those intending to visit Paris, Rome or Barcelona this summer will have to put their travel plans on hold, as US tourists are currently banned from vacationing anywhere in the European Union.
The United States is not on a “safe list” of 14 destinations whose citizens can visit the European Union for non-essential leisure or business travel, as that country has not done enough to bring its coronavirus outbreak under control.
The list – not legally binding but a recommendation to EU members – will be revised every two weeks based on updated infection rates, which leaves open the possibility for nations to be added to or removed from it.
Here is a select list of countries currently open to US tourists, as reported by travel website TravelOffPath.com:
The Mexican state of Quintana Roo – home to popular vacation spots such as Cancun, Tulum and Riviera Maya – reopened to tourists in June, with hotels getting the all-clear to accept reservations and regularly scheduled flights resuming at Cancun International Airport, Afar.com reports.
Jamaica reopened to American tourists on 15 June. The Caribbean island requires all US visitors to fill out an online Travel Authorization Card before they fly, while authorities will be testing arrivals at the airport.
French Polynesia, which includes Bora Bora, Mo’orea and Tahiti, will reopen to American tourists on 15 July. However, US travelers must bring evidence of a negative Covid-19 test before boarding their flight and will be tested again upon arrival.
The Bahamas reopen to US vacationers on 1 July. A negative-PCR test dating from no more than 10 days prior to arrival is required, and travelers are asked to fill out an online health declaration before they fly.
Antigua and Barbuda reopened to Americans on 4 June, although all American tourists will need to take a Covid-19 test on arrival at the cost of $100.