Greece to allow travellers from Britain from the 15th of July
It has been reported that direct travel to Greece from Britain will resume soon. Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and Government Spokesperson, Stelios Petsas said: “In cooperation with the British government, and following advice of experts, the government announces the resumption of direct flights from the United Kingdom to all airports of the country from July 15.”
Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice warning against all but essential travel was dropped for Greece on the 4th of July. This meant that travellers from England could visit the country without invalidating their travel insurance. In addition, those returning from Greece were no longer required to self-isolate at home.
Following the announcement, any direct flights to Greece booked to take place before the 15th of July will be cancelled but after that date, the flight may still go ahead. This is dependent on the airline or tour operator as many are cancelling services due to low demand.
If a passenger has a confirmed flight to Greece, they will need to complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 48 hours before arrival in Greece. Once the form has been completed, the prospective visitor will receive a QR code (which can be displayed either on a mobile phone or printed on paper) which should be shown to the Greek authorities upon arrival.
The QR code will be scanned at the point of arrival. Subsequently, the passenger may be directed for health screening, including a test for the Coronavirus. The Greek authorities’ instructions will differ according to whether arrival was by land, sea or air and will also vary depending on where the passenger came from. That is if the passenger has arrived from a country outside of the EU (including the UK), either directly or on indirect flights. If the passenger is a British national who lives permanently within the EU or has been in another EU country for some time before travelling on to Greece, they may be asked to prove that they have not recently travelled from the UK. Applicable requirements appear on the PLF form page.
After testing has been carried out for the virus, visitors will be required to self-isolate at the address given on the PLF form. The Greek authorities will then contact the passenger with the test results and provide further instructions on the extent of self-isolation required. If the test result is negative, self-isolation will no longer be required but if it is positive, it is likely that the passenger will be required to continue to self-isolate for 14 days in government-provided accommodation.
Travellers should be aware that if other passengers on the flight subsequently test positive, further mandatory quarantine or self-isolation may be required.
On social distancing and hygiene, “The experience for visitors to Greece will be different,” said Minister for Tourism, Harry Theocharis. “Tables and sun loungers will be more spaced out, staff will probably wear protective gear and gloves. We are taking steps to avoid queues and will be limiting the number of tables in restaurants, putting more outside, and changing the way food is served. In hotels, more cleaning or rooms and common areas will be expected.” He went on to warn that these measures might be around for some time and urged caution among vulnerable people planning a trip to a smaller island where healthcare facilities are likely to be limited.
In Greece, it is mandatory to wear facemasks on public transport (including flights and ferries), at airports, in taxis, in all medical facilities and in lifts. The use of facemasks is strongly recommended in other closed spaces but there will be no obligation for tourists to wear face masks in hotels or resorts.
There are concerns among restaurant owners and hoteliers that businesses will be able to reopen and remain viable unless social distancing guidelines are relaxed.
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