Europe restricts US visitors due to virus flare-ups

Europe restricts US visitors due to virus flare-ups

The European continent decided on Tuesday to reopen to visitors from 14 countries, but not from the United States, where some of the states that have reopened their economies the loudest and earliest are now retreating due to an alarming wave of confirmed coronavirus infections.

The European Union’s decision came a day after Arizona governor Doug Ducey closed bars, gyms, movie theaters, and water parks, and officials in republican and democratic strongholds were wearing masks.

“We must remain vigilant and keep our most vulnerable safe,” tweeted President Charles Michel of the European Council.

The EU has extended its visitors ban not only from the US, but also from China and from countries such as Russia, Brazil and India, where infections are high. Britain fell out of the EU in January and enforces its own rules, requiring prospective travelers to enter 14-day self-quarantine.

President Donald Trump suspended accession of most Europeans in March.

Americans are a large part of the European tourism industry, and summer is an important period. More than 15 million Americans travel to Europe every year, while about 10 million Europeans cross the Atlantic.

The news hit the struggling shopkeepers hoping for a summer boom.

“Americans were 50% of my clientele,” said Paola Pellizzari, who runs a mask and jewelry store on the island of Saint-Louis in the heart of Paris and leads the business association. “We can’t replace that clientele with another.”

The Louvre Museum will reopen on July 6. Americans were the largest group of foreign visitors to the “Mona Lisa” home.

“When I returned after closing, five companies were closed,” Pellizzari said. “As the days go by and I listen to the entrepreneurs, it gets worse.”

Sharmaigne Shives, an American living in Paris, said she hopes her countrymen can turn things around quickly.

“Paris is not Paris if there are no people who really appreciate it and wonder about everything,” she said. “I miss that. Seriously, I feel the emotion rising. It’s so sad here.”

Across the English Channel, it is also the other way around in some places.

Britain has re-enacted a lockdown in Leicester, a city of 330,000 inhabitants, which officials said last week accounted for 10% of all new cases of coronavirus in the country. Shops closed their doors and schools were prepared to send children home.

“I first opened my shop last week and saw an immediate increase in orders, and now I am concerned that this change will drop to no orders,” said James West, who runs a design and printing company in Thurmaston, just outside of Leicester.

The coronavirus has been blamed for more than half a million deaths worldwide, including about 130,000 in the United States, where the number of confirmed infections has risen to about 40,000 a day in the past month, primarily in the south and west. A large part of the cases concerns young people who go out to bars and restaurants.

On Capitol Hill, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we reach 100,000 a day if this doesn’t turn around, so I’m very concerned.” He cited scenes of people socializing in crowds, often without masks.

States such as Texas, Florida and California are returning, closing beaches and bars, or in some cases repealing restaurant restrictions.

“Our expectation is that our numbers will be worse next week,” said Ducey in Arizona, where seven times in ten days the number of new cases per day has passed the 3,000 mark.

On Monday, Los Angeles also announced that it will shut down beaches and ban fireworks on July 4. And the Governor of New Jersey said he is postponing restarting indoor dining because people have not worn masks or abide by other social distance rules.

In Florida, Walt Disney World continued plans to reopen on July 11, despite a spike in confirmed cases in the past week.

The state reported more than 6,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. More than 8,000 new cases were registered on each of the three days at the end of last week. More than 3,500 people have died in Florida.

Hospital intensive care units are starting to fill up. Miami Baptist Hospital had only six of the 82 ICU beds available, state officials said.

On Monday, the city of Jacksonville, where President Donald Trump is expected to accept the republican nomination in August, required the wearing of masks. Florida Republicans said they will take security measures for the event, including their own special mask design.

“I think we can do it in a way that you can follow the social guidelines that are in effect but still have a successful event,” said Senator Joe Gruters, GOP President of Florida.

Van Johnson, mayor of the tourism-dependent city of Savannah, Georgia, with a population of 145,000, announced that he must wear masks, with offenders subject to $ 500 fines.

Savannah becomes one of the first cities in Georgia to take such a step. Republican Governor Brian Kemp has largely banned local governments from imposing stricter rules than the state.

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Associated Press reporters from around the world contributed to this report.

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