International Gathering and Event Regulations: What to Know

March 12, 2021

The Netherlands lifts quarantine requirement for vaccinated U.S. travelers and implements vaccine passports. In Canada, Alberta has declared a state of emergency.

Updated September 17, 2021

As many parts of the world continue to battle coronavirus outbreaks, particularly the Delta variant, some leaders have paused the reopening process and announced new constraints on travel and gatherings. At the same time, other countries are easing their restrictions. Here's a roundup of what's happening around the globe.

In the latest news, the Netherlands has lifted quarantine requirements for vaccinated U.S. travelers and are implementing vaccine passports. In Canada, Alberta declared a state of emergency on Sept. 15, mandating masks indoors, physical-distancing measures and a Restrictions Exemption Program where businesses require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to operate without capacity limits. The lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand, has been extended until at least Sept. 21. Ireland plans to drop almost all Covid-19 restrictions by Oct. 22. France has banned unvaccinated U.S. travelers as of Sept. 12. And England has announced the country will not go ahead with plans to use vaccine passports for entry to large events and nightclubs.

Denmark has banned unvaccinated travelers from the United States, but lifted all remaining Covid-19 measures on Sept. 10. Hong Kong has announced that travelers from low-risk areas of mainland China and Macao will no longer be required to quarantine.

Italy is requiring unvaccinated U.S. travelers to quarantine for five days upon arrival. Proof of vaccination will be required for many large events in Scotland starting at the end of September. The United Kingdom has added seven countries, including Canada, Switzerland and Denmark, to its green list. Travelers from green list countries don't have to quarantine upon arrival to the U.K.

Also in the Asia-Pacific region, a lockdown in Sydney, Australia, will remain in place until the end of September. Singapore now allows for seated business events of up to 1,000 people if all attendees are fully vaccinated. The country also announced plans to ease travel restrictions with Hong Kong, Macao, Germany and Brunei.

In North America, Canada soon will require all passengers on planes, cruise ships and interprovincial trains to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The United States is keeping its land borders with Canada andMexico closed to nonessential travel through Sept. 21.

Reopening status in countries that banned or restricted events


Covid-19 restrictions vary across the country. In the latest news, a lockdown in Sydney has been extended until the end of September. Masks are required in all indoor public spaces and a curfew has been introduced from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Residents are only to leave their homes for essential reasons.

The Australian government has released a four-step plan for reopening. The country is currently in the most restricted phase A. Some restrictions will be eased and lockdowns are less likely under phase B, which will occur when 70 percent of the population has received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine. The country will move to phase C when 80 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, after which travel will begin reopening and vaccinated residents will be exempt from all domestic restrictions. Phase D will see the reopening of international borders, with vaccinated travelers no longer required to quarantine. Unvaccinated visitors, however, could still be subject to Covid-19 testing prior to travel and upon arrival.

Australia's borders remain closed for the time being and a quarantine-free travel bubble with New Zealand has been suspended until at least September. Only Australian citizens, permanent residents, immediate family members and travelers who have been in New Zealand for at least 14 days before flying to Australia can enter the country. Visitors are required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior of departure. Travel updates can be found on the Australian Department of Health's website.


declared a state of emergency on Sept. 15. Masks and physical distancing now are required in public indoor spaces. Starting Sept. 20, businesses can operate without capacity limits if they implement the Restrictions Exemption Program, which requires proof of vaccination, a privately paid negative Covid-19 test or documentation of medical exemption. Indoor events that follow the Restrictions Exemption Program can be held at full capacity; indoor events that don't implement it are limited to one-third of their fire-code occupancy. Outdoor events have no capacity restrictions.

The country has announced that all passengers on planes, cruise ships and interprovincial trains will be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, starting sometime this fall. On Sept. 7, Canada opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from all countries. As of Aug. 9, fully inoculated U.S. citizens and permanent residents currently living in the United States are once again allowed to enter Canada for nonessential travel. Eligible travelers must meet Canada's pre-entry testing requirements, be asymptomatic upon arrival and upload their vaccination information to the ArriveCAN system. However, the U.S. land border with Canada will remain closed to nonessential travel through Sept. 21, meaning Canadians cannot drive into the United States. More details can be found on the Canadian government's website.

Many provinces and territories have restricted gathering sizes. The Canadian government has also released a risk mitigation tool for event planners.


Denmark has moved the United States to its orange list of travel restrictions. As of Sept. 4, only fully vaccinated American travelers are allowed to enter the country for any reason, and they will be exempt from Denmark's quarantine and testing requirements. Unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. can only visit if they have a "worthy purpose" for entry, as defined by the Danish government. Those who are unvaccinated and eligible must have proof of a negative Covid-19 test.

Due to Denmark's high vaccination rates, health minister Magnus Heunicke announced that the government will no longer consider Covid-19 a "socially critical disease" as of Sept. 10. The country will lift all remaining pandemic restrictions on this day. A coronavirus passport system, which has been required for entry to bars, restaurants, culture attractions and events, will be phased out. Details and updates can be found on the government's website.


Effective Sept. 12, all unvaccinated travelers from the United States are banned from entering France. They can only visit for essential purposes and must provide a negative Covid-19 test and quarantine for seven days. France has lifted most Covid-19 restrictions, but masks are still required in indoor public spaces, and Covid-19 passports are mandatory for events with more than 50 people. As of Aug. 9, health certificates are also required in cafés, restaurants, cultural venues and long-distance travel by plane, train or bus. The certificates also will soon be required for people ages 12 to 17 and for the staff of public venues. Guests must show that they are fully vaccinated, have received a negative Covid-19 test result within the last 48 hours or have fully recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months.

The country has implemented a new traffic-light system for travel, which allows vaccinated travelers from green and orange countries to enter without completing a Covid-19 test. Travelers from red-light countries must have an essential reason for traveling, complete a Covid-19 test before departure as well as on arrival, and quarantine for seven days if fully vaccinated or 10 days if not vaccinated.


Germany has reopened its borders to American citizens. In order to enter the country, travelers must present proof of full vaccination, proof of recovery from Covid-19 within the past six months or a negative Covid-19 test taken prior to departure. Other restrictions vary across the country, depending on regional Covid-19 rates.


Greece has lifted quarantine restrictions for travelers from all E.U. member states, Britain, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Israel. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, non-E.U. members that are part of a European travel pact, are also exempt. As of April 19, travelers flying into Greece from one of these countries are no longer required to complete a seven-day quarantine upon arrival, if they show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Greece has begun easing Covid-19 restrictions, although capacity restrictions for gatherings, businesses and public transport remain in place. Proof of vaccination or recovery must be presented in order to sit inside at restaurants, cafés, nightclubs and bars. Masks are required in all indoor settings.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong will ease its travel restrictions with China on Sept. 8. Anyone who hasn't been to medium- or high-risk areas of mainland China or Macao will no longer be required to quarantine. Hong Kong plans to allow entry for up to 2,000 travelers a day. Additional details on Covid-19 travel measures can be found on the government's website.

Hong Kong uses a "vaccine-bubble program," allowing inoculated individuals and most businesses expanded freedoms. Gatherings still are limited to no more than four people.


Ireland's phased reopening, which began in early September, will lead to almost all Covid-19 restrictions being dropped by Oct. 22. Capacity limits for events and proof of vaccination to enter restaurants and bars will be lifted. The only remaining restriction will be wearing masks on public transportation and in indoor business areas. As of July 19, fully vaccinated U.S. travelers are allowed to enter Ireland and do not need to quarantine or complete a Covid-19 test. Those who are not fully vaccinated must take a test within 72 hours prior to arrival, then quarantine for 14 days once in the country and take a post-arrival Covid test. All travelers must complete a passenger locator form at least 48 hours prior to arrival. The latest travel updates can be found on the government's website.

Under the current restrictions, organized indoor events, such as conferences, are not allowed. However, outdoor events of up to 200 people are permitted at most venues. Up to 500 people are allowed for outdoor gatherings at venues with a capacity of more than 5,000 people.


Unvaccinated travelers from the United States must now quarantine for five days upon arrival in Italy before being tested for Covid-19. Fully vaccinated U.S. travelers must present proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival. These rules will be in effect through at least Oct. 25.

On Aug. 6, Italy introduced the "Green Pass," a digital Covid-19 health certificate that is required for entry to museums, theaters, theme parks, spas and indoor dining. Anyone over the age of 12 must show proof that they have received at least one vaccine dose, have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months or have tested negative within the last 48 hours.

Italy has also updated its travel guidelines. Visitors from the United States, Canada and Japan are now allowed to enter Italy under the requirements of the E.U.'s Digital Covid Certificate. As part of the digital passport, travelers must present proof of full vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to entry or a medical certificate that shows they have recovered from the virus.

The Italian government has continued to ease Covid-19 mitigation measures and all of the country is now in the white zone, the least restrictive level of Italy's color-coded map of restrictions. In white zones, the curfew has been lifted and bars and restaurants have reopened. Trade fairs and conferences were allowed to resume as of June 15, but must comply with safety protocols.


Travel to Japan for tourism and most other short-term purposes still is not permitted. This restriction is not expected to be lifted anytime soon. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has expanded the country's state of emergency over several cities until at least the end of August, covering Tokyo and Okinawa, as well as Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba and Osaka. On Aug. 5, a quasi-state of emergency was announced for Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Aichi, Shiga and Kumamoto. Bars that only serve alcohol are closed. Restaurants and bars that serve food must close by 8 p.m., and are not allowed to serve alcohol. Residents are advised to leave their homes only for essential reasons and must avoid gatherings.


The closure of the U.S.–Mexico land border has been extended until at least Sept. 21. Most of the country's tourist destinations have reopened to visitors, with some restrictions. The Mexican Ministry of Tourism has implemented the Clear Point Quality Seal certification system to indicate restaurants, bars, hotels and other tourism providers that are following the highest safety protocols.


The Netherlands added the United States to its list of areas with a very high risk of Covid-19 on Sept. 4. Travelers from these destinations can only enter the Netherlands if they are fully vaccinated, but will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival starting Sept. 22. Social-distancing requirements will be dropped on Sept. 25. While lifting certain restrictions, the Dutch government is introducing a "corona pass" that will show proof of vaccination to enter venues like restaurants, bars, clubs and cultural events. As of Sept. 6, fully vaccinated travelers must also present a negative PCR test or negative antigen test, taken within 24 hours prior to departure.

The Netherlands moved to phase four of reopening on June 26. However, the government temporarily tightened some restrictions, following a rise in Covid-19 cases. The current measures are expected to stay in place until at least Sept. 20. During this time, smaller, one-day, nonseated events are allowed if they abide by certain restrictions. Gatherings are not to exceed more than 750 people and must be held outdoors or in an open-air tent. Event organizers must require coronavirus passports that show proof of full vaccination, recovery within the past six months or a negative Covid-19 test taken within 24 hours. Face masks and social distancing are not required at these events.

New Zealand

New Zealand's borders remain closed to visitors from most countries. Auckland is at alert level four, the highest level of Covid restrictions, with businesses forced to close and events of all sizes banned. Lockdowns in the rest of the country will be lifted on Sept. 8, when all other areas move to alert level two. Event and entertainment facilities can open at level two, but are limited to 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors. More than 50 people are allowed if groups are kept in separate, defined spaces.

New Zealand has suspended its quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia. The suspension will be reviewed in September. The government announced on Aug. 12 that it plans to reopen its borders to international travelers early next year. Updates on travel and Covid-19 can be found on the government's Unite Against Covid-19 website.


Prime Minister António Costa has announced a three-stage plan for reopening. Phase one took place on Aug. 1, lifting of the current curfew and allowing fans to return to sporting events. Phase two is expected to begin in September, as long as 70 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Under phase two, capacity limits on transportation will be lifted and masks will no longer be required outdoors, except at gatherings. When 85 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, the country will move to phase three, when gathering restrictions will be eased, and bars and clubs will be able to reopen. However, Covid certificates will be required at bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants, as well as business events with more than 1,000 people outdoors or 500 people indoors. Details on the latest gathering and travel restrictions can be found on Visit Portugal's website.


Starting at the end of September, Scotland will be using vaccine passports for entry to large events. Proof of vaccination will be required for unseated indoor events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 people, all events with more than 10,000 people and at nightclubs.

Scotland moved out of its five-tier system of Covid-restrictions on Aug. 9, allowing all venues to reopen for normal operating hours and removing all physical-distancing limitations. Face coverings, however, still are required in indoor public spaces and on public transportation. In addition, restaurants and hospitality venues must collect customer information for contact tracing purposes. Gatherings of more than 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 people outdoors will need to apply for approval. Details and travel updates can be found on Visit Scotland's website.


Singapore will lift border restrictions with Hong Kong and Macao on Aug. 26. The country also announced plans to launch a vaccinated travel lane with Germany and Brunei in September. Those who are fully vaccinated will be able to travel between the countries without quarantining, although Covid-19 tests will be required before departure, on arrival, on day three and on day seven.

The country also has eased gathering restrictions, as the local vaccination rate rises. As of Aug. 19, seated business events of up to 1,000 people or receptions of up to 500 guests are allowed if everyone is fully vaccinated. Only events with fewer than 50 people can occur and must use pre-event testing. Capacity limits for cruises, attractions and museums have increased from 25 percent to 50 percent.

Event organizers must submit their plans to the Singapore Tourism Board for approval, and adhere to specific risk-mitigation measures. The Singapore Tourism Board has launched the SG Clean initiative to audit the sanitation practices of all types of facilities; those who put the measures in place will earn a certification from the STB.


Covid-19 restrictions vary by region, although social distancing and mask mandates remain in place for all public spaces. In Madrid, a nighttime curfew has been lifted and hotels, restaurants and bars can operate at 50 percent capacity. Cultural venues, such as museums and theaters, can welcome visitors at 75 percent capacity.

On June 7, Spain opened its borders to vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and most of the world. In addition, non-vaccinated travelers from the EU's 27 member nations are allowed entry with proof of a negative Covid-19 test result.


Switzerland opened its borders to vaccinated travelers from North America on June 26. Those from the U.S. and Canada who present proof that they are fully vaccinated do not need to take a PCR test prior to entry or to quarantine after arrival. U.S. travelers can also enter the country with a negative Covid-19 test result or proof of recovery.

Covid-19 restrictions were also relaxed on June 26. The requirements to work from home and wear a mask outdoors have been lifted. In addition, events that use Covid-19 certificate forms to verify attendee vaccination status or test results will have no capacity limits or restrictions. Meanwhile, seated gatherings without a Covid-19 certificate cannot exceed more than 1,000 people. Events with no seating requirement and no Covid certificate will be limited to 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors. The latest updates and information on what's open can be found on Switzerland Tourism's website.

United Kingdom

England announced on Sept. 12 that vaccine passports will not be used for entry to large events and nightclubs. The plans to implement them had received significant backlash from both politicians and the nightclub industry. The government changed this requirement due to increased vaccination rates and new treatments.

As of Aug. 30, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Liechtenstein and the Azores are on the U.K.'s green list, meaning travelers from those countries don't need to quarantine upon arrival. However, they must still be tested both before and after traveling.

England has released fully vaccinated residents and those under 18 from the requirement to self-isolate if they come in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. Also, as of Aug. 2, fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and European Union no longer have to quarantine upon arrival to England. However, travelers still have to be tested for Covid-19 both before and after arriving. This new rule currently only applies to England, but is widely expected to soon be followed by the rest of Britain. International cruises can also begin sailing from England.

England moved to its final phase of reopening on July 19. All social-distancing limits have been eliminated, face masks are no longer required, and all indoor and outdoor gathering restrictions have been lifted. According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Covid passports will not be used as an entry requirement for venues or events. Proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result, however, will be required for international travel. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said that masks will still be required on public transportation in the capital city, such as subways, buses and trams.

Changes to the U.K.'s traffic-light system also took effect on July 19, with travelers from amber-list countries no longer required to quarantine for 10 days after arrival and take another Covid-19 test on day eight if they are fully vaccinated and have not visited a red-list country within the past 10 days. Travelers from amber-list destinations are still required to complete a Covid-19 test prior to travel and on the second day of arrival. Among the destinations currently on the amber list are the U.S., France, Germany and Denmark.

Green-list visitors must also take a Covid-19 test prior to travel and on the second day of arrival, regardless of vaccination status. They are not required to quarantine, unless their test result is positive. Green-list destinations include Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Travelers from red-list countries are only able to enter the United Kingdom if they have residency rights, or are a British or Irish citizen. They must take a Covid-19 test prior to travel, quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days and complete two more Covid-19 tests upon arrival. Red-list countries include Afghanistan, India and South Africa. Details and updates on the U.K.'s traffic-light system for travel can be found on the government's website.

This article has been provided courtesy of Northstar Meetings Group, you can the read the original article here.

Posted by Elise Schoening | Request as a Speaker

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