As many of the brightest cannabis stars on the planet are in Spain to take part in a last-minute canceled Spannabis, a freshly announced travel ban from Europe over coronavirus included few details for what will happen to U.S. citizens on their way home from Europe pending their health screening.
The general focus of yesterday’s announcement on the travel ban from over 20 European countries was a theme of no foreign nationals who’d visited any of them entering the United States. But among the list of countries included in the travel ban is Spain.
With big plans, many of the best cannabis minds in the world converged on Spain to take part in the industries premier annual European adventure, Spannabis. Some planned to stick around for the Barcelona edition of the International Cannabis Business Conference. Spannabis was canceled only two days prior to when the event was set to be held with ICBC being canceled a day before that conference was set to start, leaving prospective attendees without time to adjust their travel plans. In the wee hours of early morning they began to get word of President Donald Trump’s announced travel ban. Trump announced that the U.S. would suspend all travel from Europe, with the exception of the U.K., to the U.S. for 30 days beginning at 11:59 ET on Friday, March 13. While U.S. citizens were said to be exempt from the announcement, that still left those Americans in Spain — as known coronavirus cases are exploding — wondering what exactly would happen to them upon arrival back in the U.S.
On Wednesday, there were 2,140 cases of coronavirus in Spain with 48 deaths. By today, those numbers had jumped to 2,968 cases with 84 deaths.
This morning, both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence went into deeper detail on what Americans coming back from Europe can expect when returning home. They will be required to fly through 13 specific airports to undergo screenings.
Trump noted if an American does test positive they aren’t going to be shipped off anywhere.
“We’re not putting them on planes if it shows positive,” he said. Americans will be quarantined upon arrival, he told the assembled media. “You have to have separation, or this thing takes longer to go away.”
NPR reported Pence as saying those travelers who return to the U.S. from the EU will all be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
So at the very least, everyone on their way home from Spannabis will be required to self-quarantine. One of those travellers is Luigi Diaz from San Francisco-based Triples SF, known for their Triple Scoop Gelato.
Diaz said what he has gone through just to spend the day in Spain has been a nightmare as he spoke with us while in transit to the U.K.
“I literally have spent about $5,000 in two days, lost all my money for the hotel now gotta rent a hotel for the night in London until tomorrow so we can leave for the U.S.,” Diaz told Cannabis Now.
We asked if he was worried about the threat of quarantine when he finally gets back to California.
“100%,” he replied. “Everyone is trying to get back by tomorrow because apparently that is the deadline.”
But there is a lot of confusion with folks around whether that deadline is for quarantine or just to get back on U.S. soil from anywhere other than the U.K.
Diaz still holds Barcelona’s cannabis scene in high regard despite not getting to spend as much time there as he had hoped.
“Barcelona was tight and I will be back ASAP,” he said, noting that he found the flower terpene profiles weren’t his taste, but the hash was exceptional.
Spannabis’s organizers had expected to welcome visitors from more than 50 countries on March 13, 14, and 15. More than 300 exhibitors were expected to take part in the festivities. In addition to the thousands expected at Spannabis, another 1,000 were expected for ICBC Barcelona.
According to the Department of Homeland Security the new travel restrictions between the U.S. and Europe will be in effect for at least 30 days.
TELL US, did you get caught up in the travel ban? What has your experience been like?