Greece Ends Lockdown, Opens To Tourists

Greece has launched its tourist season, lifting most remaining restrictions on movement and declaring “we are putting the lockdown behind us”.

Although an average of 2,000 daily Covid cases are still being reported, vaccinations are being rolled out. 

German tourists have begun flying in. From 17 May it will not be illegal for Britons to travel to “amber list” Greece, but they are advised not to. 

Only for “green list” countries such as Portugal will rules ease significantly. 

Although the UK has a relatively low infection rate, Germany has said it will be classed as a Covid risk area from Sunday because of cases of the Indian variant in some areas. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday the Indian variant could pose “significant disruption” to lockdown easing on 21 June. 

Greece still has several restrictions. However, the big changes are that residents no longer have to send text messages to a hotline whenever they leave their homes or go shopping, movement is allowed between regions, and a night-time curfew has now been limited to between 00:30 and 05:00.

A fifth of Greece’s economy is seen as dependent on the tourism sector and 20% of workers are employed by it. 

“We are opening our tourist industry to the world,” Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis announced on Thursday evening in front of the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion outside Athens. 

BBC reports that visitors from a list of 53 approved countries have to fill in a passenger locator form (PLF) the day before they travel, listing where they are staying and supplying a vaccine certificate, a negative PCR test or a documentation of recent recovery from Covid.

The rules are a precursor to the EU-wide digital certificate that is scheduled to help free up travel by the end of June. 

Flights from several German airports, including Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hanover and Stuttgart, landed at Heraklion airport in Crete on Friday morning. Travel giant Tui said it was resuming flights to Kos, Rhodes and Corfu on Saturday and the rest of Greece next month.