Greece Is Again Open For Tourism With 24-Hour Curfew & Movement Restrictions In Place Between Regions

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Greece is welcoming tourists from today that either need to provide a negative Covid-19 PCR-RT test performed not more than 72-hours of arrival or be fully vaccinated with whatever vaccine, including the not so effective Sinopharm.

I am not sure what this pilot entails because there is a nationwide 24-hour curfew, and travel between regions is banned. You are allowed to leave your place once or twice a day by sending an SMS first to a designated purpose (to buy food or medication).

You can access Greece’s page for tourism here.

Greece plans to fully launch its 2021 tourism season on May 14, when movement restrictions are intended to be lifted, and likely these curfews.

Passengers are required, for now, to have a negative PCR-RT test performed no more than 72 hours before scheduled arrival to the country. This is waived for fully vaccinated passengers with a minimum of 14 days from the last jab.

Remember that you need to complete a Passenger Location Form (PLF) at a minimum of 11:59 PM the day before your arrival to Greece.

The QR code is sent to the passenger on the day of arrival. Those who embark on their journey earlier need to present an email confirmation to the airline they applied to the PLF.

There will be random tests performed on select passengers on arrival using rapid tests (with high false-positive rates).

Countries where arrivals are allowed:

  • EU
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • USA
  • UK
  • Israel
  • Serbia
  • UAE

This list includes countries that are not yet welcomed to Schengen. I would assume that this means that all departures from Greece must go through a passport check, and/or the flights from Greece won’t arrive at intra-Schengen gates within the bloc.

Approved vaccines are:

  • Pfizer BioNtech
  • Moderna
  • Astra Zeneca/Oxford
  • Novavax
  • Johnson + Johnson/Janssen
  • Sinovac Biotech
  • Gamaleya (Sputnik)
  • Cansino Biologics
  • Sinopharm

Greece essentially accepts all vaccination proofs regardless of whether they have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and some of which, Sinopharm, have meager efficacy rates.

Passengers are allowed to enter through the following nine airports:

  • Athens
  • Thessaloniki
  • Heraklion
  • Corfu
  • Rhodes
  • Kos
  • Chania
  • Mykonos
  • Santorini

Second Wave

The country is experiencing its second wave of Covid-19 infections, and the seven-day moving average still trends slightly upwards.

The number of deaths reported is relatively stable, too, although rising.

Here’s the complete information:

We welcome you to Greece and wish you enjoy a wonderful, unforgettable holiday experience. On behalf of the Greek Government and the Greek Ministry of Tourism, we would like you to know that we have made every effort humanly possible for you to be and feel safe in our country. Your health is our absolute and non-negotiable priority.

Greece is opening its borders gradually, in a safe and doable manner. The first stage, from the 19th of April, has some limitations compared to the generalized opening. In the following paragraphs, we describe what applies as of the 19th of April. Information relating to the generalized opening, which will be affected as of the 14th of May, will be announced in due time.

For the protection of your own health, your family’s, as well as that of all those involved in offering you a safe hospitality, the following general principles regarding the health protocols apply in Greece as of the 19th of April:

  • Every traveler coming to Greece from abroad should have a negative PCR test from a diagnostic laboratory. The test has to be conducted no later than 72 hours before arrival. This test is mandatory for all tourists (including children over the age of 5), regardless of the epidemiological situation prevalent in the country of departure.
  • If the traveler has completed his/her vaccination (i.e. 14 days have elapsed since the last vaccination, depending on the doses required) and is in a position to confirm it by presenting the relevant vaccination certificate, then proof of a negative test is not required.
  • Vaccination certificates with vaccines Sputnik, Sinovac, etc., which have not been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also exempt visitors from the obligation of a negative PCR test. For the list of acceptable vaccines, see here: Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Oxford, Novavax, Johnson + Johnson/Janssen, Sinovac Biotech, Gamaleya (Sputnik), Cansino Biologics, Sinopharm
  • Every traveler who arrives in Greece, regardless of the certificate he carries, may undergo a random health check. If selected, the check is mandatory. Otherwise we reserve the right to refuse entry in the country. The selection is made through a targeted sampling system, based on the EVA system used in the summer of 2020.
  • Attention: We clarify that the entry of tourists in Greece is not subject to vaccination. The presentation of a vaccination certificate greatly facilitates the formalities on arrival. However, in no case is a vaccination or an antibodies certificate considered a “passport”.
  • The countries from which entry is allowed, under the aforementioned conditions, without the requirement for isolation are: EU + New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, USA, UK, Israel, Serbia and UAE.
  • Passengers are allowed to enter the country through 9 airports (Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Corfu, Rhodes, Kos, Chania, Mykonos, Santorini).
  • Travelers are allowed to enter from the land borders of the country through the land entry gates of Promachonas and Nymphaio
  • As of the 23rd of April, blue cruising, i.e. cruising with no intermediate stops in ports, and yachting will be allowed with some restrictions, while the same terms and conditions will apply both for Greek and foreign citizens.

OBLIGATIONS FOR EVERY VISITOR IN GREECE

Before arrival:

  • Every tourist must fill in the special PLF (Passenger Location Form) no later than 23:59 of the day before arriving in Greece. This is done here.

Before departure, the traveler must ensure that he/she has some kind of certification of his health condition. The alternatives for that are as follows:

  • PCR test from a laboratory, maximum 72 hours before entry.
  • Vaccination certificate issued by an appropriate authority.

All certificates must include the critical information in English and the full name must match with that of the passport or other travel document.

On arrival:

For travelers arriving in Greece, the following are provided:

  • Sampling RAPID antigen tests at the entrance gates, the selection of individuals drawn from a targeted sampling system, based on the EVA system used in the summer of 2020.
  • Mandatory isolation for tourists who have tested positive for SARS-Cov-2, following a sampling test. In this case, the travelers and their escorts are transported to quarantine hotels and undergo further PCR tests to confirm the initial diagnosis. Guests will stay in seclusion hotels for at least 10 days, and they will undergo new tests again. The expenses of the accommodation in quarantine hotels are covered by the Greek state.

Compliance with the health protocols during tourist transport and throughout your entire hospitality in Greece is the decisive factor that will allow for all of us to stay safe and return to our normality. We ask for your understanding and apologize in advance for any additional inconvenience. Thank you for the cooperation, thank you for choosing our country for your vacation and we look forward to welcoming you to Greece.

Conclusion

I don’t understand why anyone would travel to Greece today when there is a nationwide lockdown and curfew. You are essentially a prisoner at your designated hotel or residence and cannot freely move around.

It is interesting to see whether Greece will fully open up on May 14, 2021. I guess that much will depend on the Covid-19 situation in the country at that time.  It certainly doesn’t look too good at the moment.

You have to keep in mind that Greece may not require a negative PCR-RT test from those arriving, but a connecting airport, country, or transporting airline may.

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