Move to Drop COVID Travel Restrictions Opens Up Live Poker Events in Europe

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Poker players will find it easier to play tournaments in Europe from next week as COVID travel restrictions change for the vaccinated.

The European Council has recommended that countries in Europe drop all testing requirements for vaccinated travelers. (Image: Wikipedia/Sceptre)

The European Council has recommended that countries across the continent adopt a universal policy with regards to vaccinated travelers. The European Council’s recommendation isn’t legally binding.

However, the political body wants all countries in the European Union (EU) to grant vaccinated travelers enter without providing a negative COVID test. In light of the recommendation, Italian officials have announced that, from March 1, testing requirements will be eased.

COVID travel restrictions no longer an issue

The news will be welcomed by poker players and tournament organizers alike. With many of the major operators announcing the return of live events this year, the removal of another barrier to entry should give attendance figures a boost.

Coming up in the next two months is the Irish Poker Open in Dublin. Irish borders are now open and anyone with a vaccine certificate can enter without producing a negative PCR test. Italy will adopt the same policy for EU and non-EU travelers on March 1.

France also dropped its pre-entry testing requirements on February 12. That means anyone with proof they’ve been vaccinated won’t need to test before travelling to the recently announced EPT Monte Carlo.

Easy travel to help live poker in Europe

PokerStars was one of the operators hit the hardest by COVID restrictions over the last two years. As well as cancelling European Poker Tour (EPT) events, it was forced to stop offering regional tournaments.

However, with Europe’s largest countries lifting restrictions, PokerStars’ bandwagon is heading back out on the road. A February 23 press release confirmed that EPT Monte Carlo will take place from April 28 to May 7.

PokerStars also announced the return of its regional schedule, with small and medium-stakes events set to take place in the UK, France, Spain, and the Czech Republic.

Expect more tournaments to be announced in the coming weeks as EU countries heed the European Council’s advice and bring an end to the continent’s patchwork travel restrictions.

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