One recent morning, over a pain aux raisins and cappuccino at Gail’s Bakery in London (half price thanks to the U.K. government’s Eat Out to Help Out plan to encourage dining at restaurants), I searched for fall plane tickets and hotels in Denmark, Germany, and Portugal. Last month, I traveled—quarantine free—to Spain, Switzerland, and Italy. It was almost like it was 2019.
As an American living in London, I realize how lucky I am to travel in Europe right now, while most of my family is living and working in the United States, missing seeing my 22-month-old daughter grow up. We relied on open, free borders to maintain this cross-continental life. A four-day weekend in London from New York to see the baby? No problem.
Now, my residence card, not passport, is the ticket to travel. But that bright sense of optimism as internal borders reopened in Europe in early July has definitely dimmed a bit. It hasn’t been as easy as everyone hoped: The list of quarantine-free travel for the United Kingdom is growing shorter by the day as several countries across Europe see their positive test rate rise again. For the U.K., anything above 20 positive tests per 100,000 residents turns the red light on for quarantine. (An increased rate in hospitalizations—and deaths—has not followed in any country, including in the U.K. The Financial Times cites a