Vaccinated visitors from third countries planning to travel to the Netherlands may soon be subject to milder travel restrictions, as the country’s government is discussing such a possibility.

Besides, the country may soon lift its advice not to travel to many countries due to the current COVID-19 situation, unless for essential reasons, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working on such a plan, a spokesperson told De Telegraaf, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“The virus is not going away. You cannot keep the world locked up, and we recognize the importance of travel,” the Ministry spokesperson pointed out, as reported by De Telegraaf.

“We understand the unrest in the travel world and are looking for a solution – the world can’t stay locked, but passenger safety and Dutch public health must be guaranteed,” the spokespersons told the Dutch newspaper.

However, it is still unclear how the new system would work, as the policy will not be implemented any time soon.

On September 4, the Dutch government started to abolish some of its policies applied until that date as a preventive measure imposed to halt the further spread of the virus. Since the exact date, the country’s government lifted the “variant countries” terms for territories considered as a variant of concern, using instead only the terms as orange or red for countries highly affected by the virus.

Such a decision means that vaccinated travellers from territories that have reported a large number of COVID-19 infections are no longer urged to get tested for COVID-19 before returning to the Dutch territory.

According to the figures published by the World Health Organization, a total of 1,961,585 people have tested positive for the Coronavirus up to this point, while 18,055 have died.

Previously, the Dutch government said that some of the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus and its new strains could be lifted on September 20; however, the planned date is likely to be postponed.

In this regard, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that as long as the infection rate and the number of COVID-19 patients in the country’s hospitals remain under control, some of the current restrictions could be lifted.

At present, the Netherlands is among European countries that keep in place the toughest restrictions imposed as a response to the recent surge in the number of infections recorded in other countries.

Recently, authorities in the Netherlands imposed stricter entry restrictions for arrivals from the US, following the EU Council recommendation.

In this regard, the Dutch government stressed that vaccinated travellers from the US must undergo a ten-day compulsory quarantine upon their arrival in the Netherlands. However, authorities clarified that the period of quarantine could be shortened if travellers test negative for the virus on the fifth day.

(CNN) — France has become the latest European country — and the most significant tourism destination — to remove the United States from its safe travel list, following EU recommendations in the wake of a US Covid spike.

A French government decree issued on Thursday bumped the United States and Israel from the country’s “green” list, down to “orange,” effectively prohibiting nonessential travel to France for unvaccinated visitors.

Under France’s rules, unvaccinated travelers from either country will still be allowed in provided they have an essential reason for travel, however they’ll need a negative Covid-19 test before travel and must quarantine for seven days on arrival.

France’s move follow restrictions imposed on US travelers from several other European destinations. Earlier this week, Spain changed its entry policy for arrivals from the US, requiring them to have a certificate proving double vaccination.

Covid-battered economies

Italy last week began requiring all visitors, including those from the United States, to show proof of a PCR or antigen Covid test taken within 72 hours of travel, regardless of whether they are vaccinated.

Many European travel destinations reopened their borders to Americans earlier in the summer in the hope of attracting much needed tourism dollars to boost Covid-battered economies.

With Covid’s Delta variant spreading throughout the US, some countries, including Germany, had already begun restricting access to Americans prior to the EU recommendation. Others, such as Greece, insist they will remain open regardless of traveler vaccination status.

France is joining the list of European travel destinations tightening restrictions on U.S. tourists as COVID-19 cases surge due to the delta variant.

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 12, only vaccinated visitors will be allowed to visit for vacation, the French embassy confirmed Friday. Non-vaccinated travelers can only visit for essential reasons and need a negative COVID-19 test. They also must isolate for seven days upon arrival. Currently, unvaccinated tourists just need to show a negative COVID test to enter France.

The moves come after the European Union’s decision on Aug. 30 to remove the United States from its list of safe countries due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, essentially recommending a ban of nonessential travel such as vacations. It is only a recommendation, with individual countries setting their own travel policies.

France already requires vaccination proof or a COVID test to visit restaurants and ride on trains as well as to visit popular tourist destinations including museums and the Eiffel Tower.

►International travel:European Union countries tightening COVID-19 restrictions for US tourists

►Travel testing:Here’s what travelers should know about at-home COVID-19 tests

The NetherlandsSpain and Denmark are also banning unvaccinated U.S. tourists and Italy has added entry requirements, even for those who are vaccinated.

The new restrictions add up to another confusing maze of entry requirements for travelers planning fall visits to Europe.

Through the most recent update regarding the Coronavirus situation of countries within the EU, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has revealed that the spread of the COVID-19 and its variants continue to be just as prevalent, though, in some particular areas, the situation is improving compared to the beginning of August.

In line with the figures published by ECDD today, September 9, only the following three countries and four regions, which have detected less than 50 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the last 14 days, are currently placed in the green category:

  • Czechia
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Region of Italy: Aosta
  • Region of Romania: Transylvania
  • Regions of Slovakia: Prešov and Košice

Consequently, this means that travel to these countries/regions is safe. In addition, in general, travellers from these countries and regions reaching the other EU Member States should not be subject to any entry restrictions. Still, it is up to each Member State to decide on its rules, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

On the other hand, more regions have been moved to the orange category compared to last week’s update since their COVID-19 situation has slightly improved.

Sweden is one of the countries that last week was mostly red, but since it has been registering fewer infection cases, the whole country is now coloured orange.

According to the updated maps of September 9, the following countries and regions are now part of the orange category:

  • Canary Islands
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Latvia
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Sweden
  • Half of Italy
  • Half of Norway
  • Regions of Austria: Carinthia, Styria, Lower Austria, Burgenland, Tyrol
  • Regions of France: Normandy, Pays de la Loire, Centre-Val de Loire
  • Region of Spain: Asturias
  • Romania, except for Transylvania

Travel to and from any of the above-mentioned countries and regions is not discouraged. However, unvaccinated and unrecovered travelleres may be subject to strict entry restrictions, and those who are vaccinated may be required to undergo testing requirements, depending on the rules of each country.

In contrast, ECDC has suggested that strict rules should apply to all areas placed in the red category since they have registered more than 200 Coronavirus infection cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the last two weeks.

Countries that have been listed as red on this week’s map are as follows:

  • Greece
  • Bulgaria
  • Liechtenstein
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • Cyprus
  • Slovenia
  • Regions of Norway

The Member States are advised to impose pre-departure test and self-isolation requirements against all persons arriving from the countries listed above.

“This should also apply to essential travellers provided that this does not have a disproportionate impact on the exercise of their function or need. Transport workers, however, should in principle be exempted from testing and quarantine/self-isolation requirements,” the EU Commission has advised.

>> Which EU Countries Permit Entry for Fully Vaccinated Travellers So Far

American Airlines flight attendant Julia Simpson was eager to get back on a plane after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks upended air travel 20 years ago and shifted how the world thought about flying on an airplane.

The first plane to strike the World Trade Center buildings was full of flight attendants from Boston, where Simpson was the local union head. Not only was she grieving, but she and thousands of other employees were wondering if this would be the end of American Airlines after two of the Fort Worth-based carrier’s planes were used as weapons in the terror attacks.

“There was really a team mentality where we all came together because we needed to get this airline up and running again,” she said. “When flights were happening again, American was really good about coordinating and letting flight attendants fly where they wanted to fly, with who they wanted to fly with.”

Commercial air travel resumed just two days later with security checkpoints at airports that would become standard after that day.

Passengers banded together, too, she said. They watched out for signs of suspicious behavior, they were more willing to help out flight attendants and didn’t complain about security searches for box cutters, knives, scissors and the types of weapons that were used to hijack the four planes days earlier.

“They watched that safety demonstration like a hawk — like they had never seen it,” Simpson said. “20 years later, there is none of that now.”

Two decades after airplanes united travelers against a common enemy — terrorism —the COVID-19 pandemic has pitted passengers against passengers on planes and once again left flight attendants and pilots as the first responders to threats 35,000 feet in the air.

There have been reports of passengers attacking one another over wearing federally mandated masks. Others have attacked flight attendants, such as a California woman charged last week in federal court for punching a flight attendant and knocking out two teeth during an altercation in May. The woman could face more than 30 years in jail.

While airline executives suggested 18 months ago that the COVID-19 crisis would have the same financial impact on the airline industry as the 2001 terrorist attacks, few could have guessed that it would spark a similar level of anxiety and trepidation in the air.

The 2001 terrorist attacks instigated the biggest changes in air travel since commercial airlines started flying after World War II. Passengers were now asked to show up two hours or more early and wait in security lines while federal agents searched bags and scanned for weapons on bodies.

Erin Bowen, an aviation psychologist and professor at the University of Texas-Arlington, said the massive changes to public life after 9/11 were met with a united message from political leaders, the business world and the general population. People grumbled, but few lashed out at the new measures.

“There wasn’t a single person out there saying we don’t need security,” Bowen said. “And you had

Anyone who isn’t vaccinated for COVID-19 soon won’t be able to eat in restaurants and bars, or attend numerous other types of establishments on the Hawaiian Islands of Maui and Oahu. The restrictions, which begin next week, are due to an alarming surge of COVID-19 cases in Hawaii.

The good news is that 64 percent of Hawaii’s population is vaccinated for COVID-19. However, Hawaii has already reported more than twice as many COVID-19 cases this year as it did in all of 2020, Johns Hopkins University data shows.

According to the data, Hawaii has reported 68,764 cases of COVID-19. It had reported 22,007 cases in all of 2020. What’s more, the state reported 6,130 new cases during the last week of August alone.

Here’s what you need to know about the new restrictions on Oahu and Maui.

Oahu’s Requirements

On Oahu, beginning September 13, a new emergency order will take effect. Under that order, everyone who wants to enter a restaurant or bar — or go to the gym and numerous other establishments — will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result. This requirement will be in effect until at least mid-November. 

Other establishments that will also require patrons to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result are gyms, fitness facilities, and dance studios; bowling alleys, arcades, and billiards halls; movie theaters, museums, and indoor sections of botanical gardens, zoos, and other attractions.

“I really want this to come off as a common sense appeal,” Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said in a press conference. “This is our effort to help with community spread.”

Blangiardi said that including the testing option was important to minimize the economic impact on businesses that have already been struggling.

“We are trying to rebuild,” Blangiardi said in a previous announcement, Hawaii News Now reports. “We don’t want a lockdown.”

Maui’s Requirements

Officials in Maui are taking a similar, but slightly different, approach. Beginning September 15, proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for everyone who wants to eat indoors in a restaurant or bar in Maui. The requirement will be in effect for at least 30 days.

“Customers will be required to show proof of vaccination to eat indoors,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said at a press conference. “Anyone who can’t show proof of vaccination can eat outside if that establishment has outside seating. Or they can get takeout.”

Victorino said Maui decided not to offer a negative COVID-19 test option for diners and bar patrons because “most people generally don’t plan their evenings out around a COVID test.”

Other restrictions will also begin September 15. For example, bars and restaurants must close by 10 p.m.

Secondly, many tourist activities will be limited by capacity. Group sizes on tours, snorkeling excursions, fishing expeditions, sunset sails, and other activities will be limited at 50 percent of capacity to allow for social distancing. The capacity limit will also apply to all ground transportation services.

Know Before You

American and Southwest are among airlines warning that the delta variant is disrupting the travel recovery with “softness in bookings and elevated trip cancellations.”

The slowdown that started in early August is complicating hopes that business travel would start to pick up in September and October when leisure travel typically slows down, according to investor updates released by the four major airlines Thursday. But instead, employers have delayed return to office plans and corporate air travel is on hold, too.

The COVID-19 pandemic once again holds sway over business as normal for airlines even as other parts of the economy have accelerated. The 7-day average for new COVID-19 cases has surged above 100,000 for the first time since February with the start of the school year across the country. Case counts could be in for another spike as colleges resume classes and the public heads back indoors with cooler fall weather ahead.

American Airlines first officer Ken Abernathy (right) joined pilots representing the Allied Pilots Association in rallying for a new contract in January 2020.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the company has not expected the recovery to follow a linear path,” Chicago-based United told investors.

The 1,439,804 passengers that went through TSA checkpoints in U.S. airports on Wednesday was the second smallest number since the middle of May, according to data from the agency.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said in its investor update that “business demand stalled in August 2021 following several months of sequential improvements. The softness in leisure bookings has continued, thus far, for September and October 2021.”

It warned that sales were near the lower end of previously released expectations for August.

Southwest and Fort Worth-based American Airlines have already cut back fall schedules, hoping to put an end to operational problems that led to thousands of delays and cancellations this summer. September through November are typically slower travel months anyway, but airlines will continue to suffer financially every day that passenger traffic refuses to improve.

American Airlines said it expects to net its best quarter in terms of sales since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenues are expected to be down 24% to 28% for the third quarter compared to 2019, the company said.

The airline is now turning hopes to the holiday season, for which demand still appears strong.

“The company’s booked load factor for peak travel periods, including the fourth-quarter holiday periods, remains very strong,” American said in its investor update Thursday.

Earlier this week, a survey found that 69% of leisure travelers plan to take fewer trips, 55% plan to postpone existing plans and 42% are likely to cancel plans without rescheduling. The survey was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

United Airlines employees work at ticket counters in Terminal 1 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago last October. United Airlines said Wednesday that more than half its employees who weren't vaccinated last month have gotten their shots since the company announced that vaccines would be required.

DALLAS — Several leading U.S. airlines warned Thursday that the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant is hurting their bookings and further delaying the travel industry’s recovery.

The summer got off to a strong start, with many planes full of vacationers eager to break out after being stuck at home for more than a year. After months of improving travel numbers, however, August was disappointing.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday that people are still traveling, but key segments – business and international flyers – are still largely missing. He said the rise in COVID-19 cases won’t derail the travel recovery but will delay it by 90 to 120 days.

►Book your holiday flights now to get the best fares:Here are 4 things you need to know.

►Airfare prices are expected to drop 10% this fall as travel demand declines

Delta said it still expects to post an adjusted pretax profit for the third quarter, but revenue will be toward the lower end of its previous forecast.

United Airlines said its revenue is weaker than previously expected, and it forecast a pretax loss in the third quarter that could extend into the fourth quarter if the virus outbreak continues. It is trimming flights to match the lower demand.

American Airlines said a slowdown that started in August has continued into September, and the airline further lowered its outlook for third-quarter revenue.

Southwest Airlines reported that leisure travel has weakened, with more cancellations and softer bookings for September and October. Southwest said, however, booking patterns for the winter holidays look normal.

Airlines are watching COVID-19 numbers closely and finding hope in the latest figures showing the surge that started in July might have peaked. The seven-day average of cases is roughly flat compared with two weeks ago.

Airline executives say they believe bookings will pick up as soon as case counts go down.

“Things moved downward rather quickly, but they can, I think, move upwards just as quickly,” Andrew Nocella, United’s chief marketing officer, said during an investor conference held by financial-services firm Cowen.

Airline stocks fell shortly after trading began Thursday but then turned higher. By early afternoon, American was up 6% and others rose between 3% and 5%.

►Traveling to Jamaica?:CDC, State Department say avoid travel to the Caribbean island

►Two states, four Walgreens and a sense of defeat:Travelers struggle to find timely COVID tests, putting trips in jeopardy

Americans have been willing to travel over the summer and during shorter holiday periods. Air travel over the Labor Day weekend approached 2019 levels — on two days, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2 million travelers.

By Wednesday, however, the number of people going through airport checkpoints dropped back to 1.4 million, down 28% from the comparable Wednesday in 2019.

United’s Nocella warned that travel is likely to slump in October, early November, and the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In a bid to reassure passengers worried about the virus,

President Joe Biden’s latest executive order directs the Transportation Security Administration to double the fines travelers face who refuse to mask upin airports and“on certain modes of public transportation”

The TSA’s travel mask mandate requires masks on airplanes, trains, buses and in airports and train stations. The mandate first went into effect in February and was recently extended through Jan. 18 to “minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation.”  

The new fines for those who refuse to wear masks take effect Friday would be $500 to $1,000 for first offenders and $1,000 to $3,000 for repeat offenders. Children under the age of 2 and those with certain disabilities are exempt. 

The executive order, announced Thursday, also ensures that masking requirements remain in place in other modes of transportation that do not fall under the TSA mandate. 

“If you break the rules, be prepared to pay,” Biden said during a Thursday press conference. He went on to call passengers who have expressed anger toward flight attendants because of the masking rules “wrong” and “ugly.”

► Unruly passengers:FAA levied more than $1M in fines against ‘unruly passengers’ this year amid mask mandate

► Mask mandate extended:Travel mask mandate extended into January for planes, trains, buses as COVID cases rise

Airlines began requiring masks early in the pandemic but have faced resistance from a minority of passengers. 

The FAA has so far reported 4,184 unruly passenger incidents on flights this year, 73% of which were related to the mask mandate. 

FAA regulations state that “no person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember’s duties aboard an aircraft being operated.” So far this year, the agency has levied more than $1 million in fines against “unruly” passengers.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz

Many parts of the globe are open again for international travel. One of the few remaining holdouts is Australia and the Oceania region in general. Here are the latest updates about when Americans can fly to Australia.

Australia Entry Requirements

The Australian government currently has a travel ban for all non-essential travel because of the Covid-19 threat. This border closure is one of the strictest in the world.

United States citizens are unable to visit Australia under most circumstances. This is unfortunate news for world travelers who love the Land Down Under (or have a stack of Qantas miles). However, it is possible to get a travel exemption to enter Australia for several reasons:

  • Escort an Australian citizen or permanent resident minor (only one escort per child)
  • You are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • An immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • New Zealand citizen who usually resides in Australia
  • Eligible business reasons

You can apply for an exemption at least two weeks but less than two months before your planned arrival date. It’s possible to apply within two weeks due to a close family member’s death or critical illness. A negative pre-arrival test within 72 hours of arrival is also necessary if you qualify for an exemption. You will also need to observe the local safety guidelines and quarantine requirements.

These entry requirements resemble what most countries had in the opening weeks of the pandemic. 

Can Dual Citizens Enter Australia?

The U.S. Embassy to Australia states that travelers with dual United States and Australian citizenship are not guaranteed entry. They will need to apply for an exemption just like non-residents and non-Australians but may have higher approval odds.

Just like it’s difficult to fly into Australia, it’s challenging for current Australian residents to depart the country. People with temporary visas may be able to leave the country but cannot return to Australia.

Australian Quarantine Rules

If you can enter Australia, you will need to observe the local quarantine policy and curfew restrictions to avoid legal fines and penalties. International visitors should anticipate self-quarantining for 14 days at a hotel or designated facility. The quarantine location is