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CoVid-19. How one travel company is dealing with blockades imposed by worried governments.

Editorial Staff

Hotels.Com already allows cancellation of bookings without penalty in many of the properties it advertises. But the unprecedented range of restrictions being placed on travellers, often at short notice, means that contracts are, to all intents and purposes, being frustrated by operation of law. It's not, in strict terms, force majeur although many are calling it that or, even, an Act of God. No, it's not that either.

Hotels.com has produced an excellent analysis of exactly what the US blockade of travellers from some parts of the EU means. The notice addresses many of the misconceptions and false arguments that are popular on much social media.

Verbatim: they've got a copyright notice in the standard footer on this page but we're pretty sure they don't mean in in this case.

As you may have seen in the news, the United States government has prohibited non-US citizens who are from the 26 countries that make up the European Union’s Schengen Area or who have visited the Schengen Area in the previous two weeks from entering the United States. These countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The United States government’s policy goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on March 13, 2020 but does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on March 13, 2020. The United States government has stated that they intend for this policy to be in place for the next 30 days.

This policy does not include or impact

American citizens, permanent legal residents and their immediate families
Any child, foster child or ward of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces
Anyone traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for virus-related work, certain travelers related to NATO or United Nations work, and certain travelers doing work related to the CDC, Department of Homeland Security, State Department and other law enforcement issues
Certain classes of air or sea crewmembers
Anyone traveling from the United Kingdom who has not been to the Schengen Area in the last 14 days

While not prohibited from entering the United States, these travelers who have been to the Schengen Area may be required to return to the US through select airports where enhanced screening procedures have been established.

What will happen next

If you are impacted by these new rules and cannot travel to the United States during this 30-day period, please know that we are working quickly with our travel partners to address this unprecedented situation and to take care of you.

If you have only booked lodging via Hotels.com we will ensure you will have the option to cancel and be refunded. If you have booked air travel or a travel package, we are working with our airline partners to understand how their cancellation policies will work.

We will contact you shortly with more details and next steps including how to confirm any changes to your travel plans and how the cancellation process will work.

While the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is a rapidly changing and fluid situation from a public health perspective, we are committed to keeping you informed and to taking care of you as a valued Hotels.com customer.




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