Greece to ease off restrictions prior to reopening to tourists

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The country will welcome international tourists from 15 May after six months of national lockdown

Greece is waking up from a six-month-long national lockdown. The Greek Islands, too, are safely reopening for tourists and independent travelers to visit and to enjoy all those simple but delightful things that make a good holiday.

In preparation for the country’s reopening, the Greek government is relaxing restrictions from Friday, 14 May. From now on, the daily curfew is pushed to 00:30, and the government will lift a ban on traveling between regions and abolish the need to send an SMS before leaving home.

Museums will reopen and in the coming weeks, summer movie theaters and open performance venues will also resume across the country. Stores will operate normally without the click-and-collect and click-in-shop systems and will only follow social distancing rules and health measures.

Both the relaxing and reopening of the country follows a recent announcement the country will no longer require quarantine for visitors from over 30 countries, including the UK and US, if they can present a negative COVID-19 test or proof they’ve been vaccinated.

Populations of all smaller islands have received vaccination

There are many unique islands to exploreThere are many unique islands to explore — Shutterstock

With the islands, such as the Cyclades and the Dodecanese further east, being an important tourist destination, the Greek government has recognized the importance of vaccinating populations especially in the small islands that have now been fully vaccinated.

As of now, 32 of the country’s smaller islands have completed their vaccination and another 36 islands with populations of up to 10,000 people will have done so by the end of May.

Residents of 19 major islands, such as Egina, Mykonos, or Santorini will receive a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of June, said Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias on Wednesday.

Air carriers are opening routes directly to the islands

The European airlines have picked up on the strategy this summer for flying directly to the Greek islands rather than via a bigger hub.

There are more European air carriers, and Middle Eastern ones too, including Qatar Airways, flying into Mykonos and Gulf Air from Bahrain. From Europe, more aircraft will be flying directly into Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Kos as well as Mykonos, and so passengers can avoid the hustle and bustle of coming through the main airport in Athens altogether with the crowded space of a big city.

One does not even have to stay for all of one’s holiday on one island; there are so many other islands that are easy and quick to get to and to explore that one may never have considered before.

Traveling to and between islands on the ferry

It is easy to social distance on the local ferriesIt is easy to social distance on the local ferries — Shutterstock

The quintessential Greek holiday experience can be found on each unique island with its own attractions.

The Greek Islands represent the big outdoors enabling natural social distancing, whether on the beaches, exploring the villages and countryside, or inspecting ruins where the ancient world fuses so perfectly with the modern. There are always plentiful and fine beaches, and one can choose between those that are convenient and close and those that are delightfully off the beaten track.

It is easy to social distance on a Greek island hopping holiday if one chooses to travel on the frequent ferries; one can find one’s own outdoor space on the ferry, and some ferries can also provide cabins in which it’s easy to isolate from the crowds.

Passengers traveling to or between islands by ferry or airplane will need either a vaccine certificate for two shots (valid 14 days after the second shot), or a PCR test done within 72 hours, or a rapid test done within 24 hours prior to travel.

Everyone can find wonderful and idyllic spots where there is enough space for all and find their own little piece of paradise.

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