Greece has moved their lines around a bit when it comes to opening up for tourists. While some may be frustrated with it, we need to remember that the covid-19 situation we are living in makes for very fluid situations – especially for travel. So, Greece has clarified yet another point on tourism.
Greece Clarifies About Traveler Origination
The Shifts in Rules for Entry to Greece
For a while, it had appeared that Americans were not going to be allowed to visit Greece until July, possibly even after July 15. With schedule changes from airlines like Delta reflecting this, many started writing off a Greek holiday this year.
Then, Greece announced their list of 29 countries that would be allowed to visit Greece as of June 15 – and, of course, the US and the UK (among others) were not on the list. So, Americans and Brits were waiting again.
Finally, last weekend, the Greek ministry updated their rules yet again to say that the world is welcome as of June 15, but with testing and quarantining for many. Today, we have further clarification as to how that will work.
Testing Done Based on Flight Origination – Not Passport or Country
So, according to the original rules, it appeared that the testing that will occur from June 15 – 30 would be based on a traveler’s origination airport on the ticket to Greece. Greece is using this EASA list of airports that show control over the virus to designate which places are high risk and which are safe.
How Would it Work?
I have a flight from Greece to the US on the 15th and then back at the end of that week so I will be able to check this whole thing out and report back then, but I was wondering how they would handle such a testing strategy? I mean, if I entered the EU in Greece, of course they could check me at passport control to see where I had originated and then have me be tested. But, what if I entered the EU via a different country and then flew to Greece – how would they know? Would they have someone checking names at the end of each gateway?
It turns out that, under the clarifications, it will be based on the where the flight originated that lands in Greece. This is why Delta had pushed their flights off – the entire plane would need to be tested upon arrival in Greece. Also, this appears to be why Turkish Airlines had cancelled their flights to Thessaloniki from the 15th to the 30th – even though Thessaloniki is accepting international arrivals. It seems that that plane would have to be tested and all passengers quarantined and I am not sure if Thessaloniki has the capacity to make that happen.
Putting it in Real-World Situations
So, based on the clarification, it should not matter if an American visits Greece and flies out of NYC. It will matter where the flight that arrives in Greece originates from. If it originates from Turkey, for example, or Sweden, that passenger and all aboard will be tested and need to quarantine.
But, if that passenger transits through Switzerland and flies to Greece, the passenger would not face mandatory testing. But, there will still be random testing even for flights originating from the “safe” airports. If such a passenger tests positive, the people from that flight would need to be quarantined.
If you were wanting to visit Greece between June 15 – 30, this is important since it clarifies why and how you would be tested. If you are arriving in Greece from an airport on the safe list, you may not even be tested. But, if you have a flight from an airport with high risk, you would face testing on arrival.
Then, you would be put up overnight at a designated hotel (at Greece’s expense) and then go into quarantine – for either 7 days if negative or 14 days if positive. This is only for flights coming from high risk airports.
But, if you do not plan on arriving in Greece until after July 1, you should be all set! After that date, it will be based on random testing though there will be some additional protocols for some countries – I would imagine that would include the US. So, in such a situation, not taking a non-stop from the US could be a better option.