The long awaited reopening of the USA to tourists travelling from Europe finally happened on November 8. Whereas previously, tourists wishing travel from the UK, Ireland and the Schengen zone had to spend 14 days in a third country prior to entering the USA, it is now possible to fly directly from the area to the USA.
However, the reopening comes with a caveat. Anyone entering the USA as a tourist must prove that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as providing a negative test taken in the 3 days before travel. This means that if you are not willing to take a covid vaccination, you are quite simply not welcome in the USA. For many people this will be an instant deal breaker and we hope that this restriction will be a temporary one.
As for what to expect when you do arrive in the USA, it very much depends which part of the country you are visiting. It is no secret (and indeed no surprise) that American attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic have been somewhat polarised during the last 20 months. While some parts of the country have seen draconian restrictions equivalent to European style lockdowns, other parts of the country have suffered much less disruption. This holds true today, where certain states and counties are persisting with far reaching mask mandates, while in others, Covid is more or less forgotten. Last Winter, I spent 3 very pleasant months touring Florida and enjoying almost complete normality, while people further north were still being prevented from visiting their neighbours for coffee.
The contrast is not quite so stark now and most parts of the USA seem to be more or less ready to move on. However, the divisions are still there, most notably in respect to the thorny issue of mask mandates. The controversial face garments continue to pervade many parts of the country and remain as hotly contested a debate as they always were. The specific rules governing the wearing of masks, as well as other important considerations, are determined at state, county and city level. This means there may be one set of rules in one town, whereas things might look completely different 5 miles down the road.
My advice is to do diligent research and find a state and city where you can reasonably live with the specific rules. Florida and Texas seem to be the states where life has moved on the most and where restrictions are likely to be the least intrusive. They are the states which are on my radar this Winter.
Please share any questions or advice on our USA forum.