Greece has officially become the latest European country to lift the inflight mask requirement and make mask usage optional for air travel. While it already scrapped outdoor mask usage back in March, it had continued to enforce them in most indoor venues, including flights. This finally ends on June 1, 2022.
When the European Union ceased recommending masks in flights across the 27-country strong bloc, including Greece, starting May 16, member states still retained full autonomy regarding Covid management within their own borders. While France was quick to drop the rule, others like Spain and Italy have chosen to keep masks in place.
As Greece had not taken up the EU advice immediately on May 16, many believed it would follow in Spain and Italy’s steps. Luckily for restriction-wary travelers, the Hellenistic Republic is standing behind France and other more relaxed EU nations in making face masks optional – only a bit later:
Starting June 1, Masks Will Be Gone On Greece Flights
Expressing support for the wider EU directive, Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris confirmed on Wednesday face masks will no longer be enforced in indoor spaces from June 1. This means the mandatory mask requirement will officially be suspended in all public indoor areas, including supermarkets, restaurants, clubs, shops, and even flights.
The lifting of the measure will initially last from June 1 through September 15, when authorities will assess epidemiological developments and either keep masks optional, or reinstate them as a requirement. While Mr. Plevris definitely did not rule out face masks permanently, the fact that they will not be enforced during the whole summer is still great news for tourists.
Now, during Greece’s hottest months of June, July, August and early September, visitors will be able to enjoy their vacations without having to worry about carrying extra masks when eating out, or flying in between Greek islands. More specifically, Plevris confirmed masks will no longer be necessary for the following settings:
- Intercity trains
- KTEL buses
Namely, means of transport with numbered seats. On top of those, masks will also not be required in most indoor venues, with the most obvious exceptions being hospitals and senior care homes. Interestingly, they will also continue being enforced on public means of transport where seats are not numbered, such as city buses, trolleys, metro and trams.
Mr. Plevris has not shared the rationale for that.
Masks May Continue Being Enforced On Ferry Rides
The Minister also revealed the country’s Covid management team will be regrouping next time to determine whether maks will remain in place on ferries between Greek islands. This suggests Greece is in fact following the EU advice only partially, and applying its own criteria, where masks are not considered necessary inflight, but they might be still on boats.
As Greece’s Covid experts are only making a decision on the latter next week, we are not able to confirm, at this point, masks will not be necessary on ferry rides. They will, however, be scrapped from June 1 to September 15 on flights, meaning Americans will not be expected to wear face coverings when flying between the U.S. and Greece.
Within Greece, flights from the mainland to the islands, or between islands, will also not involve mandatory mask-wearing. Despite the loosening of restrictions, Mr Plevris continues to advise people to wear masks in all of these areas, especially when they are clinically vulnerable, and thus at a higher risk of developing serious Covid symptoms.
Greece Is Open And Restriction-Free During Summer
In late April, Greece became the 30th country to remove all Covid requirements. Even though it continues to apply some Covid rules internally, travelers are no longer subject to strict health screening when flying to the country, and all are again welcome, irrespective of nationality or vaccination status.
In sum, this means:
- No vaccination requirements
- No pre-departure testing
- No mandatory health forms
- No quarantine post-arrival
Inside Greece, unvaccinated travelers will also not be subject to any specific restrictions, such as undergoing testing repeatedly in order to access indoor venues: the internal vaccine passport has been suspended from May 2nd until September. Non-immunized visitors are again allowed to sit in at restaurants and visit famous landmarks such as the Acropolis.
Although there are no guarantees this state of near-normality will still be maintained come autumn, when authorities will decide on either extending it or tightening curbs, Greece is officially open and essentially restriction-free during summer. For more information on Europe reopening, please visit this page.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com