A small but increasing number of destinations are lifting all of their COVID-related travel restrictions, regardless of vaccination status, including some European countries.
The United Kingdom, Ireland and Hungary all swelled the ranks this month. The Caribbean island Aruba, the Portuguese archipelago Madeira and north-central Asia’s Mongolia have also lifted their main Covid entry requirements.
They join Iceland, Norway and Slovenia, which all shed their Covid rules in February.
Other countries will be watching closely to measure the success or failure of these bold moves as Omicron continues to spread around the world.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel advisory list, increasingly a hoarse-voiced Cassandra, still has about 125 destinations in its highest-risk “avoid travel” category — with the latest addition an Indian Ocean island nation.
Masks on planes
Several UK airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have just made mask-wearing optional for passengers and crew on certain flights. The rules are more than a little opaque, however, and are dependent on the laws of the destination country.
Mask-wearing has been a contentious issue on planes over the past two years. The US Transportation Security Administration has issued more than $644,000 in fines for alleged mask violations since February 2021.
The US mask mandate is currently set to be in place through April 18. Whether it’s lifted or extended again, there are bound to be some unhappy (and potentially very unruly) passengers either way. And if some industry advocates get their way, a no-fly list for unruly travellers could help keep bad behaviour in check.