Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has officially announced a second nationwide lockdown for Greece, starting on Saturday November 7th and lasting 3 weeks, until at least November 30.
Below we have specific rules of the lockdown, plus what this means for tourists scheduled to enter Greece soon, or travellers already in the country.
PM Mitsotakis held a televised address to the nation this morning to announce details of the upcoming lockdown, but also to assure citizens this lockdown won’t be as restrictive as they saw earlier this year.
“As you know we have made the decision from Saturday morning, at 06:00, to re-enter a horizontal mode of suspension of activities for the whole country, which will last for three weeks, until November 30. Something that will look like, but will not be exactly the same, what happened in March and April.” – Said Mitsotakis
The decision to lockdown the nation was spurred by a sudden spike in cases over the last week, which is putting the countries hospitals at risk of overwhelm.
“Scientific data should not be the subject of controversy. Political decisions are made by the Government and we take responsibility for these decisions, but the scientific data on which we rely is non-negotiable.” Mitsotakis said In a tweet “If we continued at this pace we would have to welcome more than 1,000 of our fellow citizens to the hospitals within the next 10 days,”
Greece’s Lockdown Rules and Regulations
Here are the latest rules and regulations coming into effect for the lockdown on November 7:
→ The lockdown will come into effect November 7, 2020 until at least November 30, 2020.
→ Like France, a permission slip of sorts will be required for anyone leaving the house for essential supplies, taking young children to school, or even to exercise outdoors. Instead of a form like France has implemented, people will send an SMS to authorities before leaving home. (more on this below)
→ Elementary schools as well as childcare centers will remain open, but high schools will close.
→ Restaurants will close, but delivery only will still be permitted
→ Most retail businesses and shops will close, but pharmacies, grocery stores and supermarkets will remain open
→ Tourist attractions, museums, and cinemas will close
→ The use of a mask is now mandatory, even outdoors and when alone.
→ Nightly curfew from 9:00pm to 5:00am
The lockdown is expected to last until at least November 30, where it will be reviewed again and either renewed for a longer period of time or removed.
However, PM Mitsotakis warns citizens that even a removal on November 30th does not mean the country will return to the somewhat normalcy they saw throughout the summer.
“Our intention, as I told you, is to be able to limit the rapid spread of the virus now, not only because this way we will avoid the pressure on our hospitals – this, I stress, is my first priority – but also because I want to return at least in December, the holiday season, which is an important time for the market, to some kind of regularity. But even this regularity will be regularity with rules. We are not going to go back to the phase we may have been in in June, July or August.”
What does Greece's lockdown mean for tourists?
So far, no changes to border control / entry requirements
Since Mitsotakis announcement, we haven’t seen any changes to the countries allowed, entry rules and requirements or any border closures. However, that doesn’t mean they might not soon come, so any traveler heading to Greece in the next few days should triple-check their itinerary.
When Greece reopened for tourism early this summer, they have been allowing entry for EU/Schengen area countries, as well as a small list of third-party nations suggested by the EU, and randomly, travelers from the UAE and Israel. Some approved nations require a negative PCR test in order to enter, while many can visit restriction-free.
Canada was just recently taken off of Greece’s approved list for entry on October 25 due to a surge in cases.
IMPORTANT UPDATE NOVEMBER 7 – ENTRY RULES CHANGING
Like I mentioned above, entry rules can change fast and indeed they are. Since publishing this article on November 5, we have now discovered entry rules will be changing.
Starting November 11, ALL passengers arriving into Greece will require a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival.
Previous to this, only passengers from Bulgaria, Romania, UAE, Malta, Belgium, Spain, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland, as well as approved/essential travelers from Albania and North Macedonia needed the test.
Now as of November 11, ALL Approved countries for travel (EU/Schengen/Approved Third-party countries) will require the PCR test to enter.
For tourists already in Greece
While Greece has not yet put forth a hotel stay ban during lockdown (like we’ve seen in the UK and Austria) all tourists already in Greece should refrain from moving/switching hotels at this time.
All tourist attractions, eat-in dining, and most shops will be closed as of Saturday November 7th, so many travelers currently in Greece might want to consider leaving before the lockdown comes into full effect.
SMS For Leaving the House
Anyone leaving home for an essential reason will first have to send an SMS to 13033.
This will be used to cite the reason for leaving.
The SMS message should include: “# one of the following numbers/reason for leaving', name, surname, address.”
1– Visit a pharmacy or doctor
2 – Visit a supermarket or stores for essential supplies
3 – Visit a bank if e-banking transactions are not possible
4 – Visit people needing assistance or escorting children to and from school
5 – Attending a funeral, as per the conditions provided by the law, or visiting children in the case of divorced parents
6 – Physical exercise outdoors or up to two persons taking their pet for a walk — while always observing a 1.5-meter distance.
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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
Originally published November 5, 2o20 with updates