On June 15 Greece will open the tourist season with flights to Athen’s Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, and on July 1 international flights to other destinations in the country will start. According with Greek Health Minister Haris Theoharis, foreign tourists will be able to enter Greece without having to do coronavirus tests and a mandatory 14-day quarantine said
Heavily depended of the tourism market, Greece decided to follow Italy’s lead and will reopen its borders to foreign tourists without the need to perform tests or enforce quarantine. The original plan to reopen the country implied that all international visitors would need a coronavirus-free certificate – but seems that this idea was eventually abandoned.
The move hardly comes as as surprise, not only due to the fact that the Greek economy is heavily dependent on tourism (it accounts for around 20 percent of national GDP), but also considering that in Greece there are relatively few coronavirus infections – so far only 2850 cases.
According with CNN, the reopening is to take place gradually: from 15 June international flights to Athens will resume, from 1 July the permission will extend to other airports in the territory and on July 15, all the remaining restrictions are expected to be lifted.
The abolition of the obligation to test or quarantine does not mean that there will be no tests at all – they are to be carried out at random, mainly in tourist destinations, where the authorities plan to increase the budget and responsiveness of the health service. Procedures have also been developed in the event that the number of infections suddenly increases in Greek resorts.
Still the “lifting of all remaining restrictions” is not to be taken literally. This new normal in over 500 beaches will imply a mandatory distance between sunbathers and a number of other innovations to increase safety. Among them are even the use of drones to patrol the beaches and the use of audio messages to avoid sunbathers to get too close to each other. Hotels will also apply special security measures.
Which citizens will be able to enter Greece without testing? The full list is to be announced in still during this month, but the authorities have already announced that the preference will be given to tourists from countries where the scale of infection is relatively small and the pandemic is under control. Reuters reports that citizens of Germany, Israel, Cyprus and Bulgaria could enter Greece first . Originally, the Greek media reported that the borders were to be open to citizens of all European Union countries and Israel – so we are waiting for details in this matter.