The new rules came into effect on 13 March and were further extended on 16 March.
The travel restrictions apply to any foreign national who has visited the 27 countries in the Schengen zone (an area of open-border travel within Europe) as well as the United Kingdom or Ireland at any point during the previous 14 days before their scheduled arrival to the United States.
These countries include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The UK and Ireland were originally exempted, but the Vice President announced on 14 March that the travel restriction would be extended to both countries starting Monday, 16 March.
It should be noted that this restriction is not determined by nationality but rather by recent travel history. For example, a French or British citizen would not be banned from entering the United States if they had been outside the Schengen zone, the UK, or Ireland over the last 14 days, while an Argentinian citizen attempting to fly from these areas into the U.S. would be restricted.
The Department of Homeland Security has quickly clarified that the ban does not apply to U.S. legal permanent residents, citizens, and some of their family members. Returning Americans will be redirected to 13 airports that have medical screenings in place. They will also be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days afterwards.
In addition, the Department of State and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also issued separate travel advisories for American citizens. The Department of State issue a warning of Level 3 — "reconsider travel" — for all international travel outside the United States. The CDC issued its highest warning of Level 3 – "avoid nonessential travel" – for the 29 countries and principalities across Europe.
This announcement comes at a time when large gatherings and major events across the U.S. are being cancelled or postponed on short notice. The U.S. Capitol complex is closed to public tours until further notice, and major public events such as St. Patrick’s Day parades in Boston, New York, and Chicago have been cancelled. The NBA announced that the remainder of the 2020 season will be postponed until further notice, while two major cruise lines have suspended all operations for 30 days. Multiple cities have place bans on gatherings of more than 1000 people at a time.
On 14 March, the Trump administration declared a national emergency over the coronavirus situation, a mechanism that unlocks emergency federal funding reserved for natural disasters to be dispersed to state and local governments.
The UK government has now issued a travel advisory against all non-essential travel to the United States. For more information please click here.