Ireland has had one of the most restrictive travel policies in Europe from the start and has had a non-essential travel ban in place since mid-March, which has made it impossible for the Irish travel Industry to operate.
After weeks of deliberation we finally got a green list at the end of July with 15 countries on it deemed safer to travel to than other countries: Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino, which was to be updated every two weeks with the expectation that the list would be added to over time.
Any country on the green list allowed travel with normal precautions so you could get insurance cover and you were not required to spend 14 days in self-isolation. That was when Covid-19 seemed to be declining and many EU countries were reopening their borders. The idea at the time was that EU governments would set up air bridges which would allow holiday makers travel to certain countries without restrictions.
However four countries on the first green list had no direct flights from Ireland and two have no airport so it wasn’t much help. Malta was removed early on and there were no more changes made to the list until 24 September when Italy and Greece were removed, which was the end of summer 2020 bookings as they began updating the list weekly based on figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC). Under the new rules, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) uses the figures the ECDPC publish on a Thursday morning to announce the updates which come into effect the following Monday.
Last Monday there were only four countries left on the list: Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Lichtenstein. Next Monday they will all be gone. So no matter where you travel you will have no insurance cover and will have to self- isolate on your return.
An EU-wide policy, which is to be agreed upon by the EU Council of Ministers on 13 October, will use a traffic light system to mark countries as green, orange, or red depending on their rate of Covid-19 cases.
It’s envisaged that this plan would use two metrics to judge whether people can travel to a specific county: 14-day incidence rates per 100,000 people and test positivity rates.
As per the proposals, an EU country would only fail to make the EU’s safe travel list if a country’s incidence rate was both above 50 per 100,000 and the positivity rate was above 3%.
If the traffic light system were to be introduced today, 16 different countries would be on the list. But while the plan may be agreed next week it may take “some time” for countries to adopt it.
It looks like Ireland will only be joining in on a few of the most restrictive measures so there is no sign of travel recovering any time soon from Ireland.