Greece is lifting the majority of its remaining lockdown restrictions and has officially reopened the country up to tourists.
1. Easing lockdown restrictions
Greece currently has an average of 2,000 Covid-19 cases reported each day, however vaccinations are being rolled out across the country and on Friday lockdown restrictions, including travel, were eased. Although several restrictions remain in place, residents no longer have to send text messages to a hotline when they leave their homes or go shopping and shops are now allowed one customer per 25 sqm. Movement is allowed between different regions and the night-time curfew is 00:30 to 05:00am. Greek islands also reopened to tourists for the first time since November with a green pass required to travel, and museums opened for the first time in six months with limited numbers.
2. Travel and tourism
Tourism is extremely important for Greece, with a fifth of the country’s economy dependent on the tourism sector and 20% of workers employed by it. The reopening of borders to international tourism is a big step. German tourists have already begun flying in, with flights from several German airports, including Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hanover and Stuttgart landing at Heraklion airport in Crete on Friday morning. Travel giant Tui resumed flights to Kos, Rhodes and Corfu on Saturday and the rest of Greece will follow next month, whilst charter flights have also landed at Rhodes, mainly from Poland and Israel. Additionally, from today British people are legally allowed to visit as Greece, however it is on the “amber list” so they are advised not to and must quarantine and have multiple tests on return.
Greece has made a list of 53 approved countries, and all tourists arriving from these places must fill in a passenger locator form (PLF) the day before they travel, listing their accommodation location and a vaccine certificate, a negative PCR test or documentation of recent recovery from the virus. These rules are a precursor to the EU-wide digital certificate which is due to be introduced by the end of June in order to help make travel within the bloc easier.
3. Greece’s new tourism campaign
To boost tourism in the country the Greek government has also launched a new campaign video in which is asks people around the world, who are dreaming of escaping, what they want. Whether it’s real sunshine for a natural tan, to taste “real food”, or a beach view, the message is “all you want is Greece”. The campaign is said to be the national tourism organisation’s biggest in a decade.
4. Vaccination rollout
The Covid-19 vaccination rollout in Greece continues and so far one in four Greeks have received a first vaccination. The Greek government is accelerating its campaign on dozens of islands, particularly those which are tourist destinations, and ministers say that 32 smaller islands have now completed their programmes with dozens more with populations of up to 10,000 being vaccinated by the end of May. Officials say that residents on the biggest Greek islands will be given the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of June.