The Greek authorities are considering enforcing tighter restrictions on the Greek islands after a rise in COVID-19 cases. Reports suggest Greece could send the police to Mykonos and Ios — two vibrant party islands — to step up controls.
A government minister warned that these islands are “one step away from strict measures.” The government has placed 186 law enforcement officials on the island. In contrast, there were only 56 law enforcement officials there last year.
The Greek government is worried that local entrepreneurs fail to enforce restrictions and COVID-19 safe measures in bars and restaurants.
The Greek tourism minister stated, “While hotels and family-type venues are implementing protocols diligently, there’s more congestion than we would like to see in bars, especially among the younger crowd … so we are trying to ensure some balance is kept.
On Tuesday alone, Greek authorities placed an additional 30 policemen on Ios, along with undercover agents and security officials. In addition, the European Centre for Disease Prevention has placed Greece’s South Aegean islands on a red list. As a result, they don’t recommend any travel to these islands unless essential.
Arrivals have grown since last summer, with an increase of 130 percent. However, these numbers still pale compared to normal times, when Greece attracts millions of visitors every year.
The Current COVID-19 Situation In Greece
Greece has had 490,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began with 12,923 deaths. At the moment, the nation is facing a third wave of COVID-19 because of the delta variant.
Greece saw a total of 2694 cases yesterday, with many of those cases occurring on the popular Greek islands.
Greece has had a relatively successful vaccination rollout. The country has administered over 10 million vaccine doses so far. However, despite the high vaccination rate, Greece is still concerned about the rising cases.
The Current Restrictions Inside Greece
Grece decided to open after a winter of lockdown. Some tourists, including U.S tourists, can skip quarantine if they travel to Greece. To skip quarantine, travelers need to have either of the following:
- A negative PCR test within 72 hours of travel
- Proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the last 2-9 months
- Evidence of full vaccination from EU-Approved vaccines
Travelers must also complete a passenger locator form before departure. That will include details of where you’re staying, passport number, and the number of travelers. The passenger locator form will include a QR code, which airport staff will scan upon arrival. It will tell you if you need to have additional tests.
Once you’re inside the country, you’re free to enjoy most things without restrictions. Travelers can enjoy bars, cafes, and restaurants if they have outdoor seating.
Shops are now open across the nation, but they must maintain limited numbers. Most museums and archeological sites have also reopened.
Earlier in July, Mykonos did enforce a music ban after cases started to skyrocket. So travelers can expect changes in restrictions once they arrive. Unlike some countries around the world, Greece is yet to scrap its COVID-19 restrictions.
However, the news that Greece is threatening to enforce restrictions on popular islands is not welcome news to travelers. So far, the government is only looking to enforce restrictions on the party islands. Therefore, most Greek islands would remain free of restrictions.
If American travelers are looking for a restriction-free place to visit, they could visit the U.K. The country is opening to Americans with evidence of full vaccination on Monday without quarantine. Americans will enjoy zero COVID-19 restrictions there.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories