The tourist season in Greece has started: 3 covid-19 related questions answered
After six months of covid-19 related restrictions, Greece is finally ready to welcome all summer travellers. Since the 14th of May 2021, the Greek government has lifted the strict measurements imposed from early November. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions travellers have about what to expect if they decide to spend some carefree time under the Greek sun!
What do I need to do to travel to Greece?
All travellers must fill out a Passenger Locator Form no more than 24 hours before arriving in Greece. In this form, you must provide information on the point of your departure, the duration of previous stays in other countries and the address of your staying in Greece.
Also, all international travellers will be required to provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test that was taken within 72 hours of travelling. Alternatively, travellers can use documentation to prove they have been vaccinated, or provide proof of antibodies against the virus if they have recently recovered.
Additionally, all tourists that enter Greece will be subject to random testing, just like last year. As the tourism Minister Mr Theoharis explained, an important difference this year is that we can use more rapid tests. If a traveller tests positive, they will need to isolate immediately.
Are there any measures still in place?
As of the 14th of May, the Greek government has lifted most of the Covid-19 related restrictions. For example, people can move freely between different regions of the country. Up until now, you could only cross for business, health and family reasons. However, there are still several restrictions in place. For instance, it is mandatory to wear a face mask inside buildings and all the public transport means, as well as all the open-air spaces. There is also a night curfew from 12.30 am to 5 am.
Restaurants, bars and cafés reopened and can operate only in their outdoor spaces. The opening hours are 5:00 am to 11:00 pm. The maximum number of people allowed per table is six, while sitting at the bar is permitted with two seated people on stools and a 1.5 m distance from the next two customers. Additionally, the use of a face mask is mandatory for customers waiting for a table.
Sites and museums are open to the public with restrictions on the number of people permitted inside. Summer and outdoor cinemas are opening soon with 75% capacity, while live shows and theatre in open spaces will resume at 50% capacity.
Hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons are open by appointment only, while gyms, spas and wellness centres reopen on the 31st of May (with self-test requirements and distancing protocols).
Organised beaches reopened with the following protocol: Umbrellas must be at least 4 metres apart, with two sunbeds per umbrella. The sunbeds must be disinfected before the next customer sits down. The music is prohibited as well as standing in beach bars.
Are there any covid-free destinations in Greece?
From early on, the vaccination of the island population of the country was a matter of great importance. The safety of the locals, along with the safety of the visitors was a priority. The country has successfully managed to vaccinate a great portion of these populations, following the vaccination programme under the name “Eleftheria”, which in Greek means liberty and freedom.
Specifically, a lot of the smaller islands with no more than 1000 inhabitants, have been covid-free since March. The first one was picturesque Katsellorizo, the easternmost Greek island and the smallest of the Dodecanese, covid-free since January! Other islands that followed are Meganisi and Kastos close to Lefkada on the Ionian Sea, Psara and Oinousses next to Chios on the north Aegean Sea, Thimaina close to Ikaria, Fournoi between Samos and Ikaria, Leipsoi close to Patmos, Nisyros and Tilos next to Kos island, Halki close to Rhodes and Gavdos south of western Crete.
Until the end of May, the vaccination of several more islands will be concluded. Some of them are Ano Koufonisi, Donoussa, Heraklia, Kimolos, Folegandros, Anafi, Sifnos, Serifos, Kea, Ios, Amorgos, Kythnos, Antiparos, Andros, Tinos, Milos and Scinoussa in the Cyclades. Also Elafonisos Kythera and Antikythera located south of the Peloponesse and Paxoi, Antipaxi, Ithaka on the Ionian Sea. The islands of the Sporades complex Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and Skyros. Astypalaia, Ikaria, Patmos, Karpathos, Kasos of the Dodecanese and Agkistri, Hydra, Spetses and Poros of the Argosaronikos gulf.
Finally, by the end of June, some of the bigger Greek islands will be ready to welcome their guests, with their adult population fully vaccinated. Some of them are Rhodes, Corfu, Zakynthos, Samos, Lesbos, Chios, Kefalonia, Kos, Samos, Lefkada, Syros, Limnos, Kalimnos, Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos, Paros, Thasos and Aegina.
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