France requires COVID pass
Visitors now need a special COVID pass to ride up the Eiffel Tower or visit French museums or movie theaters, in a new campaign against what the government calls a "stratospheric" rise in delta variant infections. As the new rule came into effect Wednesday, tourists who came to the Paris landmark unprepared lined up for quick virus tests at the site. To get the pass, people must show they are either fully vaccinated, have a negative virus test or proof they recently recovered from an infection. At the Eiffel Tower, masked workers scanned QR codes on digital health passes or checked printed vaccine or test certificates. "The world is facing a new wave, and we must act," Prime Minister Jean Castex said.
Iceland's new test
Iceland was one of the first countries to open to all vaccinated tourists back in March. Now Reykjavik has added a new wrinkle: Starting Tuesday, all adults must present a negative PCR or antigen test, taken no more than 72 hours in advance, before boarding a flight to the island. Children born after 2004 are exempt. The rest of the rules haven't changed: Only vaccinated tourists or those who can prove prior COVID-19 infection and recovery are absolved from the testing and quarantine requirements within the country. A handy interactive guide to the rules is at island.is/entry.
Simon Peter Groebner
MSP to the world
Will Minneapolis-St. Paul regain its full slate of international destinations lost during the pandemic? An e-mail to media from Metropolitan Airports Commission chair Rick King offers tentative hope. King wrote that Delta and Air Canada are expected to add service to several Canadian cities from MSP this fall. "In addition we anticipate service to London, Seoul and Tokyo later in the fall. Aer Lingus has indicated it will not restart Dublin service this year, and Condor has conveyed its plan to resume Frankfurt service in 2021," King added. Airlines at MSP currently offer nonstop service to Amsterdam, Paris, Reykjavik, Calgary, Cancun and Mexico City.
Grand Canyon alternative
With everyone making a beeline for the national parks this summer, parks less traveled have a moment to shine. For example, you could swap the Grand Canyon in Arizona for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado. Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a dream for rugged adventurers. The park boasts "some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock and craggiest spires in North America." The popular Inner Canyon offers advanced hiking, rock climbing and kayaking. But there are also plenty of opportunities for scenic drives, fishing and easier walking trails.
Vaxxed and cruising
In Seattle, the first Alaska cruise since the onset of the pandemic weighed anchor Monday as Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas set off on a seven-night voyage. Six other cruise lines resume sailing this month. The CDC asks cruise lines to decide whether they'll require 95% of a ship's passengers to be vaccinated, thereby qualifying as a "vaccinated cruise." On those cruises, vaccinated passengers do not need to wear masks or maintain social distance. Most ships leaving Seattle are pursuing the "vaccinated cruise" route. Royal Caribbean is not, due to its decision to accept unvaccinated children under 12.