European Union member states have agreed to halt non-essential travel from outside the EU in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Member states will begin implementing the ban this week.

Key Points:

  • Most travel from outside the EU will be halted for a period of 30 days. The plan will then be reviewed.
  • Exempt from the ban are EU nationals returning to the EU, non EU-nationals who are long-term residents in the EU under either EU or national law, those who hold national long-term visas, diplomats, healthcare workers, experts working to mitigate COVID-19, people transporting goods and frontier workers who legally commute across EU borders for work.
  • Travel between the EU and the United Kingdom will be permitted. The U.K. and Ireland, which is a member of the EU but not the Schengen Area, have been invited to join the EU in imposing restrictions.
  • The ban will also apply to travel to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. These four countries are not members of the EU but are members of the Schengen Area.

Analysis & Comments: The ban represents an escalation of the EU’s efforts to confront COVID-19 and will have significant consequences on business travel. Employers should account for affected travelers and rearrange schedules accordingly. Deloitte will continue following this matter and will provide updates as information becomes available.

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