Europe travel ban: International tourists press US for November date – USA TODAY

“Early November.” That’s as specific as the White House was when it announced plans Sept. 20 to broadly reopen U.S. borders to vaccinated international visitors. No date has been specified since then.
With November only a month away, travelers in Europe, the United Kingdom and other places the travel ban covers, are desperately seeking a specific dateso they can make or adjust travel plans and get time off from work.
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Travelers are pleading for information on Twitter, regularly singling out government officials in the United States and abroad. 
“Give us a date,” a woman from Cologne, Germany, said in a tweet calling out President Joe Biden, press secretary Jen Psaki and the White House. 
Give us a date! Why does it always take so long until you announce something!#LoveIsNotTourism @JoeBiden @PressSec @POTUS @WhiteHouse
buddy we really need an answer on the EU traveler reopening date that is more specific than “early November”. keep the pressure on for us. I took a gamble and booked a flight for my gf on Nov. 1 #loveisnottourism
White House officials remain mum on a date or even when a date will be announced, and airline and tourism officials say they have no details.
Psaki said Monday the CDC would provide an update on international travel guidelines “as we get closer to November.”
Details were still sparse Tuesday, when Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said he could not share further details on the reopening timeline. 
“(Early November is) still, I think, the goal and the intention,” he told USA TODAY.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only that it expects to have an order requiring airlines to collect passenger information for COVID-19 contact tracing – a key part of the government’s border reopening plan – by mid-October, spokesperson Scott Pauley said.  
Government agencies give you the ’round robin’
San Francisco photographer Elena Graham, whose partner lives in Norway, is frustrated that she can’t get any answers. 
“Everyone passes you to another department,” she said. “The CDC says it’s the State Department. The State Department says its Health and Human Services. They say it’s Homeland Security. It’s like round-robin.”
Graham and her partner, who has not been to the United States since 2019, started shopping for an airline ticket from Norway to San Francisco after the Sept. 20 announcement of the border reopening.
They were initially hesitant to book, but decided to buy a ticket for Nov. 9 when they watched prices spike. 
“We felt some urgency to book something,” she said.
They paid $1,000 for a one-way ticket with more flexibility and have had their fingers crossed since. Graham’s partner already took time off in November and sublet his apartment. They originally planned to get him to the United States via another country after quarantining there for two weeks, a so-called third country trip.
“It’s just hard to even get your hopes up or believe that you’ll be together when there’s nothing definitive,” Graham said. 
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The couple already saw travel plans dashed this year. Graham was able to visit Norway last year when the country reopened travel to partners and was planning to return this year since the U.S. borders were still closed to her partner. But Norway tightened entry restrictions in January, laying out a detailed plan for when they would lift again.
“They would put out a target date. It would get to that date (and nothing changed.) It went that way for the entire year,” she said. “It feels a bit traumatic and very hard to feel any sort of trust in something so vague.”
Travelers trying to reunite have become online sleuths, looking for any sign of a reopening date. On Sept. 24, a blogger tracking the U.K.-U.S. reopening for travelers shared a screenshot of a direct message conversation with United Airlines that said the U.S. plan to “lift geographic travel ban restrictions” beginning Nov. 1. 
I’ve been speaking with United Airlines this morning, looks like they presume the US Travel Ban will be lifted from November 1st. Again nothing confirmed until White House says. #LoveIsNotTourism #liftthetravelban
United spokesperson Nicole Carriere said there is no update to the timing beyond the government’s announcement of early November.
However, Austria’s ambassador to the United States, Martin Weiss, told a traveler who reached out via Twitter that the target date is Nov. 1.  
There is unfortunately no date certain yet. But we understand that there is the intention to have this in place by November 1st. Fingers crossed 🤞
Travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, co-founder of Atmosphere Research, said the longer the government goes without setting a date, the harder it will be for travelers and airlines.
“There’s literally no time to waste,” he said. “There will be chaos and confusion the longer they wait.”
If the date isn’t Nov. 1, for example, some travelers who purchased tickets in the first week of November will be scrambling to rebook flights and change other travel plans, a costly prospect. And airlines will be inundated with calls.
“It’s really disappointing to me about how poorly this has been managed and communicated,” Harteveldt said. “I appreciate that there are a lot of details that have to be factored into the process, but we should know by now what date in November international visitors will be permitted to travel to the United States.”
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