The European Commission issued today a Communication regarding the COVID-19: EU Guidance for the progressive resumption of tourism services and for health protocols in hospitality establishments.

The guidance states the criteria that the Member States should consider when deciding on possible relaxation of strict community measures to enable resumption of tourism activities, respectively:

  1. Sufficient health system capacity must be in place for local people and tourists, sothat in the event of a sudden increase in cases, primary care, hospital and intensive care services are not overwhelmed.

Member States, whose nationals or residents become infected when present in other Member States, should facilitate the repatriation of such persons.

  1. Increased surveillance and monitoring capacity on a local level are required to prevent introduction of the virus through travellers into touristic regions as well as spread from local populations to tourists, where applicable in line with EU data protection law.
  2. For the early identification of cases, rapid testing and diagnoses are essential. It would be important to ensure that that visitors also have equal access to testing.
  3. The aim is to promptly identify and manage contacts of COVID-19 cases in order to reduce further onward transmission. Such contact tracing must allow the sharing of relevant information between countries where there is international tourism, including preparedness for repatriation of nationals, if necessary.

The Commission and the Member States will publish a protocol on interoperability principles to ensure that voluntary approved contact tracing apps can function across borders and are reliable wherever their users are in Europe.

  1. Itis essential that mechanisms be in place to ensure coordination and communication between the authorities and operators active in the tourism sector as well as between local and national/regional governments in Member States.

In addition, cross-border coordination, information-sharing and communication using established channels is essential, where cross-border tourism is allowed. Member States should inform each other and the Commission in due time before announcing measures related to restoring cross-border tourism traffic and take into account their views.

Also, the guidance sets specific recommendations to minimise the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 in hotels, relating to:

  • Administration / Management
  • Reception and concierge services
  • Restaurants, breakfast and dining rooms, and bars
  • Fitness areas
  • Spas and indoor swimming pools
  • Outdoor facilities (outdoor swimming pools, beach, playgrounds)
  • Children indoor recreation zones (e.g. hotel crèche)
  • Toilets
  • Elevators
  • Vulnerable guests

As well, the European Commission restates the infection prevention and control measures, such as:

  • Respiratory etiquette
  • Hand hygiene
  • Use of face masks
  • Ventilation
  • Cleaning and disinfection

You can find the full content of the guidance here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication_tourismservices_healthprotocols.pdf