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European Commission Recommends Reopening to Foreign Tourists

foreign tourists
The beautiful waterfront on the Greek island of Skiathos beckons foreign tourists from all over the world. Credit: Patricia Claus/Greek Reporter

The European Commission, the executive body of the EU, on Monday recommended that  all foreign tourists who have been fully vaccinated for the coronavirus as well as those coming from countries showing little spread of the virus currently be allowed to enter the the bloc without any other restrictions.

The EU currently allows citizens from just seven countries to come for vacations or for other non-essential reasons. Monday’s recommendation would greatly add to that number.

In statement the EC said “The (European) Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorized vaccine.

“This could be extended to vaccines having completed the WHO emergency use listing process. In addition, the Commission proposes to raise… the threshold related to the number of new Covid-19 cases used to determine a list of countries from which all travel should be permitted.”

Number of foreign tourists would increase as epidemiological situations improve

The statement then noted that such a move would lead to the further expansion of the number of countries allowed into the Union.

In response to fears that loosening the restrictions would be too lax, inviting the danger of further uncontrolled spread of the virus yet again, or– worse yet — importing new variants of the virus — the EC proposed a new “emergency brake,” which would make possible the reversal of the new regulations if any country experienced a deterioration of their infection rates.

The nations of the European Union, which must all agree on this new loosening of measures, will begin discussions on the proposal tomorrow.

Greece to reopen May 15 without need to send SMS to government

As of today, May 3, all restaurants and cafes in Greece are now open for outdoor business only. All staff must wear facemasks and social distancing measures are in place throughout.

Greek citizens — as well as the foreign tourists who are already here — are now able to once again to frequent their favorite restaurants, cafes, and bars, as long as they use outdoor tables. Citizens will not have to send an SMS to visit these establishments after that date.

Service for seated restaurant, cafe, and bar customers will close at 11:00 PM but all such establishments can continue operating for delivery and take-out services after that time.

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