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Greece to Reopen on Friday, “Putting Lockdown Behind Us”

Lockdown restrictions Greece
Greece will do away with most current coronavirus restrictions as it opens to the world on May 14. Credit: Greek Reporter

Greece will do away with most of its existing lockdown restrictions, including those prohibiting travel between regions, on May 14, as it reopens to the world.

On Wednesday, the Greek government announced that it would lift the current ban on travel between regions this Friday. It will also do away with the rule stipulating that all citizens must send an SMS to be allowed to leave the house for any reason at that time.

Akis Skertsos, deputy minister to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, stated to the press today in a briefing that “We are putting the lockdown behind us.”

However, restrictions will still apply in the case of those Greeks living on the mainland who wish to travel to the Greek islands — other than Evia and Lefkada.

Lockdown to be lifted as Greece reopens to world

For all other Greek islands, to which travel will be by ferry or air, a vaccination certificate must be shown indicating that the bearer is fully vaccinated and is at least 14 days after their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, or that they have had a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure, or had undergone a negative rapid or self-test 24 hours prior.

All airlines and ferry personnel will be responsible for checking that passengers have the required vaccination or test documentation with them before boarding the ferry or aircraft. Skertsos added that these measures will apply to all domestic and foreign travelers over five years of age.

He added that Greece’s current lockdown curfew will be pushed back again, to half past midnight as of May 14, from the current 10 PM.

All retail stores across the country will resume normal operation as of Friday as well, he noted, stating that the current curbside pickup, or click-and-collect and click-in-shop programs now in force across the country, will be done away with.

He stressed, however, that proper social distancing and other health safety rules, including masking indoors, must still be followed going forward.

The playing of music — either live or recorded — will still not be allowed in cafes and restaurants in May due to recent research showing that customers raise their voices to be heard over loud music, and thereby emit more of their breath into the atmosphere, endangering others.

Greece is aiming to vaccinate all island residents, regardless of population, it emerged yesterday, Tuesday, during a meeting of local representatives with Greece’s PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The meeting was meant to provide a plan to getting to the goal of universal vaccination on all inhabited Greek islands by June 25th. It was attended by Mitsotakis, as well as the Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Marios Themistocleous.

Additionally, representatives from island local governments were in attendance, either in person or through teleconference.

Greece to fully vaccinate all islands

This new program which aims to vaccinate all islanders follows the success of the current vaccination scheme on islands with under 10,000 residents, which has been in full swing since April. The scheme involves inoculating all residents, regardless of age, on 85 islands in Greece which fall under the population threshold.

This inoculation plan is working alongside the Tourism Ministry’s plans to vaccinate 280,000 tourism sector workers against coronavirus as soon as vulnerable people have been vaccinated.

The goal through the combination of all Greece is doing to vaccinate islands is clearly meant to save the 2021 tourism season.

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