Council adopts Recommendation to coordinate COVID-19 free movement restrictions

Through a Council Recommendation issued on 13 October, Member States agreed to coordinate their approaches to restricting travel as part of their COVD-19 measures. Until now, national measures on cross-border movement were not coordinated. This Recommendation puts in place common criteria to give a degree of transparency and predictability to future restrictions; however, the Recommendation is not legally binding.

Firstly, when deciding whether to restrict movement, Member States will consider three criteria: the notification rate (the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100 000 people in the last 14 days, at regional level), the test positivity rate (the percentage of positive tests among all COVID-19 tests carried out in the last week) and the testing rate (the number of COVID-19 tests per 100 000 people carried out during the last week).

Secondly, based on these criteria, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will publish an EU map indicating the risks present in different regions, using the traffic light colour codes: regions will be either green, orange or red (or grey where there is insufficient information). The map is to be displayed on the ‘Re-open EU’ website (here), along with information on the measures that can be expected in each destination.

Furthermore, Member States have agreed to implement no restrictions on people travelling from green regions, while the measures to be taken (COVID-19 tests and/or quarantines) for people coming from red, orange and grey regions remains the decision of each Member State. This information is to be made available on the ‘Re-open EU’ website. In addition, travellers whose functions are considered essential will not be obliged to quarantine (this includes workers exercising critical occupations, transport workers, or persons travelling for imperative family or business reasons, among others).

Travel for business reasons specifically includes “attendance to Trade Fairs and Exhibitions”. Possible evidence to prove this is also stated: exhibitor contracts with – or admission to – a Trade Fair, invitation from a firm or an authority to attend meeting/conferences or events connected with trade, industry or services, invitations, entry tickets, and others. For the full list, please click here.

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