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In its efforts to control the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union continues to categorise family and partner visits under non-essential travel. As a result, binational couples and families have been separated for over four months now. The international movement “Love is not tourism” strives to change this. To this date, thousands of families and couples are still very much in the dark as to when they will be able to reunite. With many restrictions across member states already lifted and economic incentives prevailing, this strict categorisation has become hard to justify, especially given the significant social and psychological repercussions on families across the world. 

EU citizens have been sick or hospitalised without their partner at their bedside, are pregnant and don't know if the father will be able to hold their hand during labour or meet their newborn, are struggling with mental health issues and have lost their support system, are dealing with financial problems or facing poverty and are separated from the person they normally turn to. This is inhumane. This is unfair.

We feel abandoned by our governments. We are not tourists. We do not wish to travel and sightsee. We have one destination: the arms of our loved ones. We are willing to go into quarantine for however long it takes. We are willing to get tested as many times as it takes. 

As bars, theatres, restaurants, museums, shopping streets, beaches reopen and pleasure trips within the EU are allowed again, we are failing to see how reuniting us forms a bigger threat to society than any of the larger-scale activities above. The lack of economic value in our reunification causes us to be ignored, forgotten. The European Union makes no distinction between tourism and family visits. Moreover, we fear a second wave of Covid-19 infections, which will force us into yet another solitary lockdown, separating us from our partners indefinitely once again.  

We understand the decision to keep borders closed in order to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. However, exceptions should be made for binational partners who will remain in one place, quarantined with their loved ones, not forming any danger to society.

Being with your partner is essential in a pandemic. Love is essential. Love is not tourism. We hope to raise awareness of the severity of the continued separation of binational families. This has become unbearable. This is no longer justifiable.

Please sign this petition and help many couples and families across the European Union. #loveisessential #loveisnottourism #liftthetravelban