At long last! Outbound passengers queue at Aer Lingus check in desks at Dublin Airport Monday while wearing face masks to show their EU Covid vaccine certificates. Today also marks the resumption of quarantine-free travel from the U.S. to Ireland for those with vaccines and certificates to show that they have been vaccinated.
By Irish Echo Staff
The Tourism Ireland release headline said something that so many have wanted to hear for so long: "Ireland opening for travel from the U.S. Welcome to be as warm as ever."
Actually warmer, literally, as Ireland is right now undergoing a high summer heatwave.
But back to that Tourism Ireland release which stated: "Tourism Ireland is pleased to confirm that from July 19th Ireland will be welcoming visitors from the U.S. and for those who are fully vaccinated no travel-related testing or quarantine will be necessary.
"The protocols for those who do not have valid proof of vaccination will mean those visitors need to: present evidence of a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours prior to arrival into Ireland. Undergo post-arrival testing - this will be provided through the Health Service Executive in Ireland."
Added the release: "Ireland will be applying an ‘emergency brake’ mechanism that will be coordinated at EU level to react swiftly to the emergence of a variant of concern or variant of interest. In the event that this ‘emergency brake’ mechanism is applied to U.S. visitors the requirements will change and more detail can be found on the Irish Government website.
"Before arriving into Ireland, U.S. visitors will need to complete a Passenger Locator Form The form will be checked prior to departure to Ireland by the relevant air carrier and visitors may be asked to provide the vaccination certificate indicated on their form. On arrival in Ireland, spot checks will be carried out on proof of vaccinations and negative RT-PCR tests as appropriate. Unfortunately, the introduction of these additional checks may cause some disruption to journeys and visitors may experience delays so visitors should give themselves extra time either side of departure and arrival.
"From July 19th, children between the ages of 12 and 17 must have a negative RT-PCR test to travel into Ireland, even with fully vaccinated or recovered adults. Children under 12 do not need to take a RT-PCR test prior to travelling to Ireland. For any further changes please check the Irish Government website for the latest information.
"It is important to note that only those fully vaccinated or with proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 6 months will be able to avail of indoor hospitality during their stay in Ireland. It is anticipated that this will apply from July 26th. Those staying in hotels can avail of the indoor hospitality options within the hotel.
"Northern Ireland is operating a system of green, red and amber countries and the measures in place will depend on the countries the visitor is travelling from or passing through. The U.S. and Canada are both currently on the amber list of countries which means that if visitors are travelling to Northern Ireland, either directly or via another country including Ireland, they must: provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to three days before departure. Book post-arrival testing. Complete a UK passenger locator form either on arrival, or in the 48 hours before arrival. Self-isolate for 10 days. You can find further details on the Northern Ireland Government website."
Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons said of the return to the skies: ”The tourism industry right across the island of Ireland is very much looking forward to welcoming back visitors from the U.S. and we will ensure they enjoy their visit.
"The health and safety of all our visitors continues to be the priority, and we will ensure they are protected alongside a very warm Irish welcome and a great vacation experience."
Aer Lingus, in a statement, said it was ready to reunite friends and families and facilitate "long overdue" vacations to Ireland.
The statement said that to celebrate the lifting of the travel ban Aer Lingus had "a flash offer" of $100 off round-trip flights on selected U.S. live until 6:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday July 21, 2021.
"The airline has continued to fly from Boston, Chicago and New York (JFK) throughout the pandemic for essential travel and to keep the trade link between the U.S. and Ireland open. These routes will now be available for non-essential travel. Aer Lingus is also delighted to welcome back direct flights from Washington commencing August 14, 2021.
"From July 19, customers with a valid proof of vaccination do not require travel-related testing or quarantine when travelling to Ireland. While there are some new requirements for travel from the U.S., the good news is that most can be completed online a couple of days before travel. This includes a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form online which should be completed at least 48 hours prior to arrival into the Ireland and can be accessed online.
Anyone travelling from the U.S. without a valid proof of vaccination will need to show evidence of a negative PCR test to travel and will need to self-quarantine on arrival for 5 days subject to a receiving a negative PCR test result on day 5, which will be facilitated by the Irish health service.
"Travellers can fly Aer Lingus with peace of mind, as a range of safety measure have been implemented to ensure a pleasant and safe trip for all. Safety measures such as mask requirements, additional cleaning, and new boarding and de-planing procedures are in practice. Thanks to the air filtration systems on board, and how air flow is managed on-board, it has been proven that the only other indoor environment with comparable air-quality is an operating theatre.
Are Lingus Director Global Sales/Senior Vice President North America Bill Byrne said: ‘The re-opening of Ireland has been a long time coming and all of us at Aer Lingus are really looking forward to welcoming U.S. customers back on-board over the coming weeks and months. Re-uniting our customers with their loved ones is something we do best, and we are also here to connect the U.S. to Ireland with the rest of Europe.’