Removing the lockdown and opening the tourist season in Greece

There is very little time left before the opening of the tourist season in Greece. Deutsche Welle figured out what you need to know for tourists going on vacation to sunny Hellas.

From May 15, all guests of Greece who have a negative test for coronavirus or who have been vaccinated can count on free entry into the country without quarantine. The lockdown lasted for a long six months in the country, now it is being phased out, says DW. Tomorrow, on May 3, cafes and restaurants will open their doors again, however, while customers will comfortably settle down at tables placed on the street. In a week, from May 10, schoolchildren will return to classes, and from May 15, an almost full-fledged tourist season starts.

According to Worldometer (data as of April 30), since the beginning of the pandemic, Greece, with a population of more than 10.7 million people, has lost about 10.3 thousand of its citizens who have died from COVID-19. In total, 343 thousand residents of the country have become infected with the coronavirus. In early November last year, the government announced a lockdown in an effort to avoid even more casualties. Among the security measures introduced are a curfew, the inability to leave home without a good reason and send SMS, online classes in schools.

Why are the authorities canceling the lockdown regime right now, when the epidemiological situation in the country is still too far from ideal? Knowing well the answer to this question, the authorities are not discussing it publicly. The patience of the population is not unlimited, the current government is well aware of this, and now it has reached its limit. One can only hope, as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says, for mass vaccinations, self-tests and good weather. In addition, Greece without tourism is nonsense, because the country’s economy is too dependent on the income of the tourism industry (a quarter of GDP).

It is quite possible that the first tourists who arrive in Greece immediately after May 15 will be “lucky” – they will be able to see the sights without the usual influx of tourists. Judging by the figures for the past month, the number of visitors to the Acropolis, for example, was 10-15 times less than in the same period before the pandemic.

In April, representatives of the tourism industry conducted an interesting experiment. Against the backdrop of the closure of Greece for tourism, a group of 188 residents of the Netherlands were accepted for a holiday in Rhodes. There was only one condition for vacationers in comfortable conditions of tourists – not to leave the territory of the hotel and not to communicate with local residents. The result of the experiment was encouraging – there was no outbreak of infection, and the guests were satisfied.

Another important step taken by the authorities in anticipation of the tourist season is the universal vaccination of the inhabitants of the islands, where up to 10,000 people live, under the COVID-free Island program (covid-free island). By the way, they are already preparing to apply this useful experience in Italy. Therefore, vaccinated tourists have a place to relax without fear of accidentally getting infected.

However, some restrictions, unfortunately, will still remain after the opening of the tourist season. For example, we are not even talking about the abolition of the curfew yet, only its beginning is postponed – from 21:00 to 23:00. There are no plans to open nightclubs and theaters yet, and taverns will have to do without live music. However, all decisions are related to the epidemiological situation, so who knows what to expect in a couple of weeks or a month or two …

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