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The U.S. State Department’s global Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory, which urged U.S. citizens not to travel abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been lifted more than four months after its implementation.
The nationwide alert advised U.S. citizens not to travel outside of the country and asked Americans abroad to return to the U.S. or shelter in place. It has now been removed from the U.S. State Department’s website. Instead, the Department recommends citizens read country-specific travel advisories and U.S. embassys' COVID-19 information pages for updates.
“With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice (with Levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions), in order to give travelers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions," according to a note released by the Department today. “This will also provide U.S. citizens more detailed information about the current status in each country. We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic."
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Although the advisory has been lifted, local and country-specific restrictions — such as the EU’s ban of American citizens — is still in place.
"We would note that extensive restrictions on entry of U.S. travelers exist across the globe, and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to advise against travel to the vast majority of the world," said a statement from the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). "So, the State Department’s action will have limited immediate impact. As we pointed out in June, there are many steps that need to be taken to get the virus under control and return to some sense of normalcy in travel, and this is certainly a step in the right direction."
Still, the decision is a win for the hard-hit travel industry, which has seen a staggering amount of job losses in the past few months.
“We welcome the news that, after more than four months, the State Department is returning to country-specific levels of travel advice as opposed to its prior worldwide Level 4 – Do Not Travel advisory," ASTA said. "At ASTA, we remain committed to working toward a travel industry restart with federal, state and international governments, our members, travel suppliers and the broader travel ecosystem in a way that puts the safety and health of U.S. travelers at its center, however long it takes.”
Travel advisors can find a revised list of country-specific travel advice and warnings on the State Department’s website.
The DetailsU.S. State Departmenttravel.state.gov