Coronavirus – easing of travel advice regarding holidays in Europe

The Danish Government has implemented a new model to assess safe travel areas and this may allow for holiday travels to EU and Schengen countries as well as the UK.

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Since 13 March 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark has advised against all non-essential travels. As of 15 June 2020, the travel advice was eased, allowing for Danes – whilst observing the applicable travel advice of the Ministry – to travel to Germany, Norway and Iceland. The Government recently took additional steps to re-open borders by implementing a new travel advice model as of 27 June 2020.

The implementation of the new travel advice model means that the Ministry no longer advises against non-essential travels, including holiday travels, to EU and Schengen countries as well as the UK, provided that the rate of new infections is sufficiently low, that a new – and still unknown – testing criterion is fulfilled, and that the countries do not have significant entry restrictions in place regarding travellers from Denmark.

The new travel advice model also means that the advice of 14 days’ self-isolation on returning to Denmark has lapsed. Based on the current infection rates, among the EU and Schengen countries only Sweden and Portugal are categorised as ”quarantine countries” at this stage. Due to the applicable travel restrictions, Ireland and the UK are not categorised as ”open countries” either.

Starting on 25 June 2020, Statens Serum Institut (SSI) issues a list of open and quarantine countries on a weekly basis. Provided the other criteria are met, countries with less than 20 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week are categorised as open countries, but they will be re-categorised as quarantine countries if the infection rate increases to 30 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants per week.

Nordic mechanism
A special mechanism applies for the Nordic countries. According to this mechanism, a Nordic country that does not meet the above criteria – currently only Sweden – will be subject to a regional scheme where an assessment of the infection risk will be made on the basis of the infection rate of the individual regions. As of 27 June 2020, the Ministry no longer advises against travelling to one’s own farm house, summer house, etc. in Sweden even though the relevant region is still categorised as a “quarantine region”.

If a traveller is on holiday in a country that is re-categorised as a quarantine country, the traveller can, as a starting point, stay until the holiday ends and will not be advised to self-isolate when returning home. However, the traveller is recommended to exercise caution and be tested for Covid-19.

Norrbom Vinding notes

  • that the new travel advice allows for summer holiday travels to most European countries without 14 days’ subsequent self-isolation, but that situations may still occur where employees as a result of suspicion of infection or circumstances in the relevant country are recommended to self-isolate;
  • that Norrbom Vinding therefore recommends that employers discuss with their employees that caution should be exercised when travelling abroad; but
  • that employees who travel to “yellow countries” (i.e. countries where the traveller needs to exercise extra caution) may still see a reduction in their pay in situations where they are recommended to self-isolate after returning to Denmark – including situations where the employees have not followed the guidance issued by the Danish or local authorities such as (new) guidance regarding travel interruption.

The content of the above is not, and should not be a substitute for legal advice.

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