New EU travel rules come into effect on Tuesday, with Irish tourists largely having to follow the same guide as in 2021 to holiday in Spain, France and more.
People will be allowed to travel freely within the EU if they received their first vaccine no more than 270 days ago or if they received a booster shot.
Those who have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 180 days and passengers who have undergone a PCR test 72 hours before arrival or an antigen test 24 hours before are also allowed entry.
An exception will be countries in the highest ‘dark red’ category of the color-coded risk map of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control – additional measures might be needed in this case.
Any joint action between the 27 nations has proven difficult to fully enforce since protecting public health remains the prerogative of individual national governments. Tuesday’s action amounts to recommendations only.
“You are right to say that when a new variant appears and the pandemic hits at high speed, suddenly there are tensions which often lead to fragmentation,” said French Secretary for European Affairs Clément Beaune, who chaired the meeting where the new plan was signed. .
“But if you look at what happened at the start of the Omicron variant, it was only a minority of states that introduced additional measures,” he said.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast on Wednesday, Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry explained what will happen from February 1.
“The big change on February 1 is that there is a use-by date for your second vaccination introduced at European level,” he said.
“It has already been introduced by individual countries.
“In the Czech Republic, in Austria, people like that started saying nine months after your second vaccination, we’re going for the third one – what most people call the booster.
“They’re going to start looking for it at the border on February 1.
“That doesn’t mean you have to have your third vaccination on February 1, it just means keeping an eye out for that nine-month-old date.
“Most Irish people were vaccinated in July, so it will start after St. Patrick’s Day.”