In an interview with the American public affairs program Face the Nation on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the country could lift restrictions for Americans as soon as May – as long as they are vaccinated. Discussions have been held with the White House, Macron said, and ministers are finalizing the technical details.
Working hard on concrete solutions
While currently still under its third national lockdown, France’s head of state said that plans are to gradually lift restrictions from the beginning of next month – this includes regulations on transatlantic travel. Meanwhile, this will still include a ‘special pass’ of some sort for American citizens.
“We will progressively lift the restrictions of the beginning of May, which means that we will organize in the summertime with our professionals in France for French European citizens, but as well for American citizens,” Macron stated in Sunday’s interview, shared by CBS News.
“So we are working hard to propose a very concrete solution, especially for US citizens who are vaccinated, so with a special pass, I would say,” the French President continued.
Furthermore, Macron added that discussions have been held with the White House and that the Ministers in charge were now concluding the more technical discussions. One idea is to offer access to the European Union health passport, known as the Digital Green Certificate, to American citizens as well.
What about traveling to the US?
Mr Macron did not mention any details on reciprocity from Washington. The ban on travel between the EU and the US has been in place since March 2020. There was tentative talk of lifting the restrictions when it became clear that Joe Biden had won the presidential election.
However, due to the emergence of new variants, the incoming administration decided not to ease regulations. Reports shared by CNBC suggest that restrictions on travel from the EU, the UK, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil could be eased by mid-May.
Currently, the country is open to US citizens, those married to a US citizen, or individuals holding a green card. Those who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine on arrival. However, they still need to provide a negative PCR test result before boarding a flight and must take a test again three to five days after arrival.
Vaccine skepticism on both sides
The news that travel may soon reopen between France and the US is a much-welcomed step in the right direction to reinstating transatlantic transport links. However, those who are opposed to ‘vaccine passports‘ due to discrimination and between those who have and those who cannot – or will not – get the jab may none too pleased by the implications of Mr Macron’s statements.
Polls suggest that as many as a third of the adult population in the US is skeptical towards COVID vaccines. France is generally considered to be one of the most vaccine-skeptic countries in the world. Research from the beginning of the year showed that only about 40% of adults intended to get inoculated.
The question remains for how long health passports will be a necessity or how much people are willing to repeatedly pay for expensive PCR tests.
When do you think transatlantic travel will recommence in earnest? How long will vaccine passports or the like be a necessity? Let us know in the comments.