EU governments are set to blacklist American tourists from the safe travel list later this afternoon after a surge in US infections.
American travellers face a ban on non-essential journeys and new quarantine restrictions.
Whilst not automatically binding, the decision could set a precedent for new European restrictions on transatlantic travel after a summer of eased rules.
The decision is primarily because of worsening Covid infections, with the US having a vaccination rate significantly lower than European levels. Less than half the population in South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas are fully vaccinated.
Due to this, the Delta variant is spreading among unvaccinated Americans and hospitals are struggling with oxygen supply to treat Covid patients.
However, America’s refusal to allow vaccinated European travellers to visit for non-essential reasons may also play a part.
An EU diplomat told the Times: “Washington’s decision to keep restrictions for Europeans all summer has made taking it all that much easier.”
The US will be removed from a “white list” of 23 countries for which the EU recommends that “travel restrictions should be lifted”, along with Kosovo, Israel, Montenegro, Lebanon and North Macedonia.
Those from countries not on the list are barred from non-essential visits and face stringent testing and quarantine requirements that rule out holidays.