EU to allow in visitors from 15 ‘safe' countries

US not on the list, but EU countries make exemptions for filming to resume

By Chris Evans 1 Jul 2020

EU to allow in visitors from 15 ‘safe' countries

International productions are looking to return to Europe follongi the European Union's decision to re-open borders to citizens from 15 non-EU countries, including Canada, Morocco and Australia.

However, borders have not yet been re-opened to the US, Brazil or Russia.

The decision not to include the US, which has been struggling to contain the virus, is potentially worrying for the film and TV industry, as several American projects are set to begin filming shortly in hotspots like Hungary, Czech Republic, Serbia and Bulgaria.

However, the European Council's decision is not legally binding, and several of these countries have already confirmed they will make exemptions and still welcome US cast and crew, as long as they meet Covid-19 safety requirements. 

One such country is Hungary, which is set to welcome back several major projects in the coming weeks, including Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune, starring Timothee Chalamat, Rebecca Ferguson and Javier Bardem. The producers will do some additional filming in August at the Origo Film Studios near central Budapest.

Pavlina Zipkova, head of the Czech Film Commission, also confirmed: "In relation to the EU declaring travel ban on the US, please let me assure you this is not valid for the economic workers but tourism travellers only. Filmmakers of all nations are welcome in the Czech Republic."

The UK is still within the Brexit transition period and so would be subject to the EU ruling. At present, international film crews have to adhere to a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival, but UK bodies are lobbying the government for exemptions for film and TV workers. Filming of Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion is set to get underway soon.

The so-called "safe travel destinations" are China (subject to a reciprocal agreement, still pending), Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

EU officials say the decision was based on a number of scientific factors:

  • Ensuring that the Covid-19 infection rate in the country was low enough (where nations had fewer than 16 in every 100,000 infected)
  • That there was a downward trend of cases
  • That social distancing measures were at "a sufficient level"

Each state will have to announce when it intends to start readmitting citizens from some or all of the countries.

The EU list will be updated every two weeks.


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