Greece continues weekly relaxation of coronavirus lockdown measures

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Greece continues weekly relaxation of coronavirus lockdown measuresServices to other islands set for May 25

ATHENS – To the relief of people mostly penned up in their homes for six weeks when a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus began on March 23, restrictions keep being lifted in a hope to return to some semblance of normality.

With the lockdown having worked to hold down the number of cases and deaths - 2,850 and 166 - by May 21, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis started easing measures on May 4 and every week since has continued to do so.

The third wave on May 18 saw travel allowed between different regions on mainland Greece and the first ferry services to Crete with services to other islands conditionally set for May 25 unless there's a resurgence of the virus.

Intercity buses and train services resumed as well, allegedly with social distancing supposed to limit the number of passengers but with some buses operating in Athens showing signs of being packed.

Parks, zoos, and archaeological sites opened and there will be a gradual resumption of domestic flights, which had until now been operating in limited numbers while on ferries there will be a limit halving the number of passengers, or 55 percent if cabins are available, said Kathimerini.

Before boarding, passengers were supposed to have their temperatures taken while they will also be required to complete a so-called “health status” questionnaire and while onboard are supposed to be at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) from each other with no explanation how that could be enforced, and indications it was widely violated.

Only one person was to be allowed in each ferry cabin, except in the case of disabled people and their helpers or families comprising spouses or first-degree relatives in which case four will be allowed, the report said.

The use of masks by passengers and crew members is mandatory. There must also be an empty seat between each passenger while passengers suspected of infection will be isolated in a special area on the ship and put off at the next port where there is a health facility that can handle them.

But a ban on passenger flights to and from Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, and the Netherlands was extended until May 31, as well as for non-European Union citizens, and to June 14 for flights to and from Albania and North Macedonia, but tourism set to start the next day limited to 15 countries with good records in dealing with the pandemic.

The lockdown began before a single death and was credited with holding down the number of cases and fatalities, making Greece among the best performers in the world in handling the virus and its effects.

Still hoping to salvage a summer season Mitsotakis set a target date of July 1 for tourism to start, depending on whether there's any resurgence of the virus and how other countries deal with the easing of the pandemic, Mitsotakis having said while Greece will have strict health protocols that visitors should be checked before departures.

Speaking to some 500 executives and analysts of the Boston Consulting Group, via teleconference, Mitsotakis said the challenge for the tourism sector in Greece during the current, pandemic-battered year, is to acquire a bigger share of a much smaller "market pie” this year, said Kathimerini.

He also promised that a privatization program will go on and said there's more than ever a need for more investment in a "green economy" although critics said his New Democracy government wants to allow more development.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said letting 500 organized beaches to reopen May 16 when a heatwave brought temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit before subsiding was an “important test” as to whether social distancing requirements will be followed.

“Everyone is watching Greece because, so far, it has shown an exemplary response to the pandemic. Now we are called upon to demonstrate that, with rules and maturity, we can enjoy the beauty of our country safely during this summer,” he said.

This will be the best way to restarting domestic, but also foreign tourism, he added as beach clubs that violate the requirements to keep umbrellas and chaise lounges at least four meters (13.12 feet) apart will face heavy fines and could be closed.

Tourism is the country's biggest revenue engine and brings in as much as 18-20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 185.29 billion euros ($200.3 billion,) needed more than ever this year.

Archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, have opened as well and after a rocky start when crowds of young people mobbed a few public areas, most Greeks and others living in the country have tried to return to normal life although fewer appear to be using masks and gloves and keeping distances from each other.

Restaurants, taverns, and bars in the next liftings will be seen as a crucial test as well as they will, for now, be limited to outdoor seating with tables farther apart and fewer customers allowed, the owners saying that will make it difficult for them to recoup losses.

There was no word on how policing social distancing would work in the most crowded tourist and shopping areas such as Plaka, Monastiraki, or the main shopping avenue of Ermou Street and the main Syntagma Square, the hub of the capital's metro system.

Read more at thenationalherald.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Harrygouvas

 

Tornos
  1. 03/07 00:43

    New urban plan for fire-ravaged Mati in Attica goes on public consultation

  2. 03/07 00:32

    US Ambassador visits Church NGO with the Greece's Archbishop

  3. 03/07 00:13

    Greece successfully auctioned six-month bonds on Wednesday

  4. 02/07 23:54

    Tourist season opens for the wonderful Greek island of Skiathos

  5. 02/07 22:22

    Greek Development Ministry: Elefsina Shipyards consolidation under way

  6. 02/07 22:04

    E-governance Minister outlines digitization progress in Greece

  7. 02/07 21:41

    President of Hellenic Republic receives head of 'Greece 2021' committee

  8. 02/07 20:32

    Another 28 coronavirus cases confirmed in Greece on Thursday

  9. 02/07 20:04

    21,000 arrivals at Athens International on day Greek airports open to foreign flights

  10. 02/07 19:39

    Greece’s lockdown seeing the coronavirus fast fading away

  11. 02/07 15:26

    Helliniko: The bulldozers are in and demolition work has begun

  12. 02/07 13:57

    U.S. State Secretary urges Turkey to maintain Hagia Sophia’s status

  13. 02/07 11:48

    UNWTO members meet to boost cooperation in Asia and the Pacific

  14. 02/07 01:16

    Greece welcomes tourists for first time following Covid-19 lockdown (video)

  15. 02/07 01:04

    Aviation: May passenger demand records slight improvement

  16. 01/07 23:37

    New General Counsel at International Air Transport Association

  17. 01/07 23:35

    IPTO and Eurobank to finance Crete-Attica grid with €400 million

  18. 01/07 22:44

    Prime Minister: Greece a global example on managing the Covid-19 pandemic

  19. 01/07 22:29

    UNWTO pays official visit to Italy as borders re-open across the Schengen Zone

  20. 01/07 21:59

    Alpha Bank announces deal to sell NPLs portfolio worth €1.1 billion

  21. 01/07 21:40

    International Air Transport Association welcomes ICAO decision on CORSIA

  22. 01/07 19:50

    UNWTO chief: As tourism restarts, our responsibilities remain

  23. 01/07 15:23

    TripAdvisor: Cleanliness most important factor in selecting accommodations

  24. 01/07 14:11

    235 international flights landed on Wednesday at Greek airports

  25. 01/07 01:33

    Framework modernization bill for public outdoor gatherings tabled in Greece

  26. 01/07 01:12

    Tripadvisor survey: Three Greek beaches in Europe’s top-10

  27. 01/07 00:34

    WTTC: European flight bookings show ‘London is falling’

  28. 30/06 22:23

    One coronavirus fatality and 20 new cases in Greece in the last 24 hours

  29. 30/06 21:49

    Government info on travel to Greece after July 1 opening to tourists

  30. 30/06 20:40

    Seajets speedboats to relaunch its routes in Greece on July 3

  31. 30/06 20:30

    Greek operator Celestyal Cruises suspends all voyages until March 2021

  32. 30/06 20:08

    AP: EU reopens to 14 nations but not to US tourists

  33. 30/06 19:56

    Greek FM to continue contribution to efforts for the rebuilding of Syria

  34. 30/06 18:28

    Christians will turn against Islam if Hagia Sophia becomes a mosque

  35. 30/06 17:20

    TUI and Greek Tourism Ministry join forces to reach 50% of last year's arrivals

  36. 30/06 15:07

    Greek government speeding up reforms that improve daily lives

  37. 30/06 14:45

    May Air Cargo records slight pickup amid continuing capacity crunch

  38. 30/06 12:18

    Greek State minister: First weeks are crucial for the tourist flows

  39. 30/06 11:01

    UNWTO adapts agenda for Africa to accelerate recovery of tourism sector

  40. 30/06 00:10

    Greece opens to more tourists on July 1 with "stay safe" measures in place

  41. 30/06 00:07

    Greek Foreign Minister's schedule in visit to Tunisia

  42. 30/06 00:02

    10 new cases of coronavirus and no deaths in Greece during last day

  43. 29/06 23:58

    Nearly all business activities and services resume operations in Greece

  44. 29/06 23:53

    Minister: All Greek airports will open on conditions of safety

  45. 29/06 23:41

    Unicredit: Greek economy to shrink 16% this year and recover (+12%) in 2021

  46. 29/06 23:28

    Olympiakos team crowned Greek champions for the 45th time (video)

  47. 29/06 23:09

    Professor: Nice weather will last in Greece until the end of summer

  48. 29/06 22:40

    Greek island of Naxos, a top gastronomic destination

  49. 29/06 18:52

    Magnitude 5.4 earthquake strikes off the Greek island of Rhodes

  50. 29/06 15:58

    Strong interest in investing in Greek Region of Western Macedonia

  51. 29/06 13:22

    UNWTO: Small island destinations in critical need of urgent support

  52. 29/06 12:34

    Greek Tourism Minister leadership on Kos island to welcome TUI flight

  53. 29/06 11:20

    Greek President is visiting Agathonissi and Lipsi islands

  54. 29/06 11:04

    Media: Greek bid to host Europa Conference League to be withdrawn

  55. 28/06 22:33

    Another 24 hours without a Covid-19 fatality and only 23 new cases in Greece

  56. 28/06 22:27

    Yiannis Stournaras sworn in for second term as Bank of Greece governor

  57. 28/06 22:20

    US probe concludes no Greek doctors or politicians bribed by Novartis

  58. 28/06 15:45

    United Kingdom lifts quarantine ban for tourists coming from Greece

  59. 28/06 15:39

    Archipelagos Institute creating sanctuary for marine animals in Greece

  60. 28/06 15:32

    Greek regional airports ready to welcome flights from abroad

  61. 28/06 15:18

    Media: Greece gearing up for final phase of reopening tourism industry on July 1

  62. 28/06 10:49

    Reuters: Piraeus Bank funds Cretan hotel purchases in Greece

  63. 27/06 22:43

    Passengers on international flights to Greece must fill PLF Form

  64. 27/06 22:13

    Food-drink exports webinar planned for July 2

  65. 27/06 22:07

    Aliquippa Greeks go ahead with their festival between October 15-17

  66. 27/06 21:58

    Greek islands of Serifos, Sifnos, Patmos and Ios ready and waiting for visitors

  67. 27/06 19:38

    Greek PM: Covid-19 vaccine must be available to all (video)

  68. 27/06 17:46

    Horwath HTL: Greece among top-3 Mediterranean Travel Destinations

  69. 27/06 17:05

    More Greek business sectors reopening as of Monday

  70. 27/06 15:52

    EU opens to 14 “third countries” but blocks US for now

  71. 27/06 15:30

    Information campaign of Civil Protection General Secretariat launched in Greece

  72. 27/06 11:24

    American interest for the acquisition of Elefsina shipyards in Greece

  73. 27/06 09:38

    AP: Pandemic throws Greece's budget off-target and stalls recovery

  74. 26/06 18:02

    New Italian ambassador Patrizia Falcinelli appointed to Greece on June 8

  75. 26/06 17:58

    EBRD and UNWTO join forces to accelerate tourism recovery

  76. 26/06 17:53

    Covid-19 ban to Greece will continue for only nine countries

  77. 26/06 17:43

    400 samples will be taken and tested daily as of July 1 at Corfu airport

  78. 26/06 17:35

    Greek PM and French President discuss tourism and Turkish provocations

  79. 26/06 17:29

    Another 24 hours without fatalities and 8 new Covid-19 cases in Greece

  80. 26/06 17:24

    Media report: Athens' new Grand Walk will reach Syntagma Square

  81. 26/06 17:20

    Greek PM and Turkish President discuss restoring tourist flows

  82. 26/06 17:10

    National Hellenic Museum’s new online content now available (video)

  83. 26/06 17:04

    IATA Director General and CEO's latest message at media briefing on coronavirus

  84. 26/06 16:00

    SETE president Yiannis Retsos: Safeguarding Greek tourism's reputation a top priority

  85. 26/06 15:54

    AP: Eiffel Tower reopens in Paris ending 104-day Covid-19 shutdown

  86. 26/06 14:59

    Minister: Public health stands above all other concerns in Greece

  87. 26/06 13:48

    Police operation in buildings in eccentric Exarchia district of Athens

  88. 26/06 11:46

    ABTA launches post pandemic recovery guide to support destinations

  89. 26/06 09:47

    Ecumenical Patriarch upset over Turkey's plan to turn Aghia Sophia into a mosque

  90. 26/06 01:13

    Restrictions on travel easing as Europe leads cautious restart of sector

  91. 26/06 01:02

    Dance Festival of Kalamata in Greece adapts to the Covid-19 era

  92. 26/06 00:51

    UNWTO welcomes new app for safe and secure border crossings

  93. 25/06 23:53

    Greek budget shows primary deficit of €4.843 billion between January-May

  94. 25/06 23:00

    Greek government: Our primary concern is the safety and health of all

  95. 25/06 22:52

    Turkey: “Alliance of Evil” by Greece, France and anybody not supporting us

  96. 25/06 21:44

    Greek PM: Export sector must expand and foreign investments doubled by 2023

  97. 25/06 21:18

    UNESCO addressed letter to Turkey about turning Hagia Sophia into mosque

  98. 25/06 21:10

    Greek PM at SETE Assembly: We will not hesitate to take support measures in July

  99. 25/06 20:43

    New Kiato-Diakofto-Aigio railway line is launched in Greece

  100. 25/06 20:17

    Leroy Merlin inaugurated seventh store in Greece