Proof of Vaccine Required in NYC Beginning Sept. 13

Immunity from having the disease does not count.

New York State’s “Excelsior Pass” is probably about to get very popular. NYC’s mayor has declared that beginning September 13, enforcement will begin requiring visitors to some locations to prove their health status. They can do so using this new digital pass through the app on their smart device, or by simply showing their CDC paper vaccine card. Most people should opt to leave that delicate paper card at home where it’s safe and just access the app instead. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, here’s what you  need to know:

Beginning August 16, indoor dining, indoor fitness and indoor entertainment venues, such as movie houses, theatres, concert halls and night clubs must check for vaccination status. The requirement will apply to both customers and workers. Enforcement will not begin until Sept. 13, so businesses will have a grace period to figure out how to follow the new mandate. The problem we see is that the mandate does not include the thousands of people to had COvid and recovered with antibodies. The official mayoral word is that they too must go and get a vaccination if they want to enjoy New York City. (CITB’s thinks this is ridiculous. The Excelsior app should have a way to include these people!)

The Excelsior Pass app verifies potential users with the state’s own vaccination records.  Three million New Yorkers have downloaded or printed out an Excelsior Pass since its debut, according to the state department of health.  It can be downloaded from both the Apple and Android app stores.

Italy now accepting CDC cards from American visitors to enter venues!

August has seen a major expansion of Italy’s new “green health pass.” Europeans will need it in order to access a wide range of sights including bars, cafés, museums, cultural sites, and bus and train travel. How can visiting Americans get it? Fortunately they won’t have to!

Italy has suddenly decided to accept the CDC card of vaccinated folks from the US in lieu of the digital green pass. You must carry it on you at all times along with your passport to prove your identity that matches the card. That’s it. So what are you waiting for? Plan that trip!

Happy and safe travels, Dean and Andie

-See recent blogs for other Covid travel info

Covid Test Details for Re-Entering the U.S. from Abroad

As of today’s posting, August 3, 2021, the following info from the CDC website may be of interest to some travelers: The CDC order states that everyone over age two flying into the United States from another country must show a recent (3 day) negative Covid-19 test result at the airport before they fly. This is for both citizens and non-citizens.

What type of Covid tests are acceptable under this CDC order? Passengers must be tested with either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT).

Can I use a rapid test before the flight? Rapid tests are acceptable as long as they are one of the accepted viral tests.

Does a self-test meet the conditions of the CDC order? International air passengers traveling to the United States can use a self-test (sometimes referred to as “home test”) that meets the following criteria:  The test must be a nucleic acid amplification test [NAAT] or an antigen test allowed by the FDA.

The testing procedure must include a telehealth-service affiliated with the manufacturer of the test that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection like Zoom. (Some FDA-authorized self-tests that include a telehealth service may require a prescription from a doctor.) The airline must be able to review and confirm the person’s identity and the test result details. The passenger may also be required to present the documentation of test results to U.S. officials upon arrival.

So should I bring my own test with me on my trip then? It depends. Some countries may restrict the importation of tests that are not authorized or registered there. Travelers who are considering bringing a U.S. authorized test with them for use outside of the United States should contact authorities about it at their destination before they travel.

Can the BinaxNow antigen self- test for Covid-19 be used to show negative proof for travel/airlines? No, this is for personal use (and peace of mind) only and doesn’t provide a documented test result that you can display when traveling.

Here’s a very helpful website that explains more of the necessary details in a very clear manner.

Happy and safe travels, Dean and Andie

UK MANDATORY QUARANTINE FINALLY LIFTED FOR AMERICAN VISITORS

For those planning to enter the United Kingdom from August 2021 onwards, the five day quarantine and the “eighth-day” negative Covid test in Great Britain will no longer required for fully vaccinated citizens of the United States.

This comes as pressure from the travel industry reached an all time high in that country and is great news for the hospitality industry. And even though Scotland has been left to make its own decisions regarding the pandemic, it too will be lifting the requirements. The UK will now accept the infamous CDC paper card as viable proof of your full vaccination including at its many restaurants and venues.

Even so, the US still warns against travel to and from the UK. We have been awaiting a change to this status but none so far.

Happy and safe travels, Dean and Andie

Pathetic info from the US Embassy in Paris regarding the mandatory French Health Pass

The American Embassy in Paris has posted new information for visitors from the US who are currently in France: If they were vaccinated in the US and have the CDC Card then they “might be able to obtain the French Pass Sanitaire.” This is a digital pass that comes with a scannable QR code through the French-created #TousAntiCovid app. This vaccination pass is now law in France and you can’t get into museums, cultural venues, bars, restaurants, or on local trains without it. The French citizens are up in arms about this and took to the streets to protest.

Americans in France are actually being told (by the embassy) that if they can find a French doctor or pharmacy willing to enter their info into the French system then there is a chance it will work. They don’t say where to find these particular doctors.

Some people have evidently had recent success with this, but some people haven’t.

The other option is to pay for and produce a negative Covid test while you are there because that will get you authorization with the Pass. There are two problems with this: First, it will only be good for 72 hours at which point you will have to do the testing all over again -and pay for the test and the doctor again because none of this is free. Second, if you should happen to have a positive test (whether real or a machine malfunction) you will have to quarantine for a week or more in your current accommodation. This could get very expensive indeed.

If you’re thinking that it’s no big deal -that you’ll just fly home if it’s a positive test- then think again. All Americans, vaccinated or not, coming home from abroad, cannot board any flight without a negative Covid test that is within two days of the travel.

Note: We are not posting this to upset anyone or to be alarmists… we want to travel to Europe more than anyone! But we’re finding that a shocking number of vaccinated people are flying to Europe without any knowledge that they won’t even be able to enter a restaurant in France (and soon in Italy) without the digital Pass Sanitaire. An even larger number of Americans have no idea that they must be tested before coming home as per CDC guidelines.

Please share and help us spread the word! There’s no point in being “welcome” to fly to Europe if, when you get there, you can’t do anything. If they want our US dollars, they must get their act together now and find a way to have our CDC Vax Cards be able to function with the French system.

Dean and Andie

Planning to go abroad soon?

If you are a Covid-19 vaccinated or antibodied American citizen and you go overseas, please know that you must still prove you are “virus free” in order to be allowed back into the United States. This can be done by showing proof of a negative Covid test that was taken within three days of your departure flight home. If your test turns out to be positive for any reason (including test malfunction etc.) be prepared to quarantine in the country you were trying to leave until you test negative. (For some folks this might mean bringing a larger quantity of prescription medication, just in case!)

We are mentioning this because it is in effect now (July 2021) and few travelers seem to know about it. More information can be found on the government’s CDC website here. Look for the paragraph, “Before You Arrive in the United States”

Luckily, the Covid test is now quite easy to find at most pharmacies in Europe (not sure about elsewhere) but is not given for free to foreign travelers. You will have to pay for the test which currently ranges from around 29 euros to 47 euros.

We hope this changes soon because it is clearly an overreach. American citizens should always be allowed to return home.

Hoping to bring better news soon, Dean and Andie

IMPORTANT: New French Health Pass required- July/ August 2021

This month will now see a major expansion of France’s health pass, the “Pass Sanitaire,” needed to access a wide rage of sites including bars cafés, museums, tourist sites and coach or train travel. But how can people who are not residents of France access this pass?

This French “health pass” has been in use since June 9th, but was only being used to access large events like concerts, sports matches and nightclubs. However President Macron has just announced that over the summer it will be greatly expanded to include activities such as going to cafés and restaurants, visiting museums and tourist sites, and traveling on long-distance train or bus coach journeys. In short, if you’re in France you’re going to need it.

The Pass Sanitaire shows one of three things: your vaccination status, a recent negative Covid test, or recent recovery from Covid. You must prove one of these three things to access venues listed as “requiring a health passport.” This will include museums (even large ones like the Louvre and small ones like the Bourse de Commerce) beginning July 21, 2021.

It is part of the (French citizens-only) Covid tracker app TousAntiCovid. For people who were vaccinated in France this is pretty simple – they scan the QR code on their vaccination certificate into the app which then generates a code which they can use to access any location. It is not looped into results/cards from the U.S.

So what about tourists and visitors?  The TousAntiCovid app is available in the app store and works on non-French smart phones. If your phone settings are to English, the app will largely appear in English on your phone. Since it won’t show American test results or vaccines info, it will really just be to track your movements and alert you if you have been exposed to the disease while in France.

Last Tuesday, a French government spokesman said there would be a ‘relaxation’ of the rules for people vaccinated outside the EU who cannot easily use the French health pass. The foreign ministry promised a country-by-country breakdown of how this will work but as of today there is nothing new to report.

This French pass (which has a QR code that can be scanned) will be required to enter any cultural or leisure space that hosts more than fifty people… like movie houses, theatres, art galleries, museums and any large tourist sight.

At the beginning of August 2021, the pass will expand to be required at bars, cafés, restaurants, hospitals and shopping centers. People will also need the pass if traveling on a long-distance trip by rail or bus coach.  

In regard to children: by August 31st, kids over age twelve will be required to show the health pass also, so families traveling from countries that are not yet vaccinating children will need to bear in mind.

The best advice when you’re in Paris? Go only to the organized and reliable Pharmacie de la Place de la République located at 5 Place de la République. Go early in the day if possible.  The only glitch is that you’ll have to provide a French phone number. (Their form goes nuts if you try to put in an American phone number.) The nurses performing the tests in the outdoor tent there have confirmed that only a French phone number works. Since it doesn’t matter whose number you use, feel free to use your hotel’s phone number.  What matters more is a reliable email address, to which results will be sent. Do not rely on SMS messaging for this!

Fill out the form, get the test, and then go inside to pay for the 29 Euro test. Hand the receipt to the testing person and before you have walked a few blocks you might already have your results in PDF form by email.  (Make sure you have already “confirmed” your email with a verification code that was sent to your inbox as part of the set-up process.)

If flying from France, no one at the airport will probably utter a word about COVID tests until the very last step of being checked at the gate right before boarding. At that time, present the PDF in the email so they can verify your name, birth date, and date of the test.

Passengers showing only their paper CDC card showing full vaccination will be turned away. Remember, you will need that negative test within 72 hours of your flight, either PCR or antigen. The latter is faster.

Three million French citizens made vaccination appointments when this new QR code pass was announced! So keep in mind that as things improve there, all of the above can change almost overnight and then everything will be open and accessible again.

Summer Happenings, all over the place!

We have just loaded our “City Extras” with great summer happenings in each Clued In city. From an amazing new Mexican Seafood restaurant in Miami Beach to new performances at London’s Royal Opera House, the world is coming back to life. Check out these special content pages now at cluedintravelbooks.com.

Happy travels, Dean and Andie

Some Paris restaurants reopening this month

After the successful reopening of most of Paris’ galleries and museums earlier in June, many wondered if the restaurants would indeed follow suit as expected. The answer is yes and no. It seems that most of the cafes and restaurants that are now fully open are the same ones that never really closed down in the first place. These folks did okay during most of the pandemic lockdown, offering both pick-up and delivery of their menu items, however limited those might have been. Now with their dining rooms reopened for seating, it’s back-to-normal time (without the American tourists of course.)

For the restaurants who perhaps had high rents to consider, or a highly paid chef de cuisine, it made more sense to just close up the kitchen and send all the employees home, at least temporarily. Now some fourteen months later, it’s not that easy just to get back into full swing. Restaurants like Le Soufflé, Le Procope, and Jules Verne depend on the tourist trade to fill their tables and used much of the pandemic to renovate or spruce up their restaurants. Even the Asian fusion restaurant Marc-Lee has been on hiatus and has yet to announce a date when they will be serving food again. Some former foodie hotspots that have been on hiatus have announced a reopening date of September 1st which sounds to us like their expectation of hungry foreign travelers finally arriving in the city. Unfortunately, some small privately owned restaurants like the quirky Pancake Sisters have already announced a permanent closure.

On a positive note, more Parisian restaurants are open than not. And when all those hungry Americans (like us) begin to arrive, we believe that “back to normal” will come very quickly indeed. -Happy travels soon, Dean & Andie

Venice celebrates its 1600th birthday!

Yes, you read that correctly. This year marks sixteen-hundred years since Venice was founded on several mounds of sand in a large swamp off the coast of the Veneto region. Many people may not know this place is so old but it’s true.  Rome fell around 395 AD and it was just a few years later that Venice was established. By 697 AD it was a Republic, and by 1093 AD it had its magnificent basilica.  Reaching its richest and most powerful era in the mid-1400’s, it thrived from its unique geographic location along the spice routes.

   Today it still feels like a mix between the east and the west, and not really Italian at all. But what is Italian really, other than the name of the long peninsula that has hosted four separate and unique nations, each with its own customs, styles, governments, and vernacular: Rome, Naples, Florence, and Venice. It was not until recently, in 1861 to be exact, that the realms were finally united as Italia.

   Celebrations of every kind will be happening to mark the occasion and will last at least until Carnevale 2022. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to visit during such an amazing time. Italy is open and waiting; grab a Clued In Venice book and start planning.  Happy Birthday Venezia!