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13 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

EU unveils guidance for opening borders this summer, Germany to lift restrictions this weekend

By Samuel Horti

The European Union has urged nation states to give citizens the “confidence to travel again” as it unveiled its guidance for reopening borders over the summer.

The guidance recommends countries end blanket restrictions on free movement and gradually phase in travel, first allowing seasonal workers to cross borders. Then, countries with similar levels of success in suppressing the virus should open their borders to one another. Finally, countries should open all internal EU borders without discrimination, the guidance said.

As the guidance was revealed, Germany said it would begin lifting restrictions on its borders this weekend, effectively opening up all travel from neighbouring countries.

Interior minister Horst Seehofer said borders with France, Austria and Switzerland would be reopened with random checks on vehicles and passengers. The border with Luxembourg would be reopened without checks, as would the border with Denmark, subject to ongoing negotiations. Border police in Bavaria, southern Germany, have already begun opening stations along the Austrian border.

Seehofer said Germany would return to “unrestricted tourism” by 15 June, but that rules would be tightened if coronavirus cases spiked.

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Under the new EU guidance, holidaymakers could be asked to wear face masks on planes and possibly book slots to use hotel pools. EU citizens also have the right to receive mobile phone alerts of possible infections while on holiday in another EU country, the guidance said.