Several news outlets have said that Greece has become the role model for beating COVID 19. With a population of over 10 million citizens, Greece has only suffered 190 deaths and just over 3,000 infected. As of June 30th, 2020, there are only 3,409 active cases of COVID 19 in Greece.
The first case was confirmed on February 26th when a traveler returning from Italy tested positive for COVID 19. More cases would soon follow with other travelers returning from Italy, and a group of pilgrims who had been traveling in Israel and Egypt. On March 12th Greece suffered the first death to COVID 19.
Measures were already being taken at this point, on February 27th all carnival events in the country had canceled. Early March brought the closure of schools and all cultural events within the affected areas. Travel restrictions would soon follow, limiting to cutting off all travel within certain cities, villages, and migrant camps.
An international travel ban was gradually added to include more and more countries. Starting with Italy on March 9th, then the ban of all travelers from outside of the E.U. on March 18th, and now includes all the E.U. as well. As of June 30th, travel from within the E.U. will be permitted, however, travel to Greece will not begin until the 15th of July.
On the 26th of March the Greek government announced a complete ban on all unnecessary travel within the country, this went into effect at 6 a.m. on the 27th of March and would last until 6 a.m. on the 6th of April. Necessary travel included things such as; health checks, exercising or walking a pet, shopping for food or medicine, and attending ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.
April 4th it was announced that the restrictions would be extended until April 27th.
What It Looks Like Now
On May 4th the Greek government began lifting the lockdown. Through May and June, Greece went through subsequent stages of reopening shops and now nearly all businesses have reopened in Greece. Movement restrictions have been lifted and people can travel between the regions freely.
The Future of Greece
Although Greece does offer a lot of freedom to move there are still some things for tourists to keep in mind when visiting.
- Masks – Masks are mandatory in all forms of public transportation, restaurants, and shops. There is a fine of 150 EUR for not wearing a mask where it is required to do so. For currency conversions click here.
- Stores – Depending on the size of the store, there are regulations on which limit the number of visitors.
- Parks – Outdoor gardens and parks are open to the public; visitors should wear masks and require visitors to maintain a distance of 1.5 meters
- Hotels – Rooms are only for the person renting, visitors are not allowed. You will also need to wear a mask in the lobby; the housekeeping staff will not make visits as frequently as usual.
- Live Performances and Events – Venues will only permit 40% capacity, and audience members will be required to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from each other.
- Museums – Museums are limiting the number of visitors; face masks are required, and visitors should keep a distance of 2 meters apart.
- Beaches – 2 guests to the beach may share an umbrella and must have a distance of 3 meters to the next umbrella. In organized beach clubs, groups of up to 40 are allowed. This will still require only two guests to share one umbrella and keep a distance of 4 meters apart.
- Cars – Limited amounts of people can share a car depending on the size of the car.