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Greece Has Just Revealed Their Plan for Reopening the Country

grand hyatt athens
Written by Charlie

Greece has been in lockdown for over a month and now, they have revealed what the plan is to reopen the country and what it will look like in the next months.

Greece is a standout in Europe with the coronavirus – they have a relatively small number of cases with the current total at 2,566 and the number of deaths at 138. That is just amazing considering how their neighbors in southern Europe (Spain and Italy) have fared with this virus.

Greece’s Plan to Reopen the Country

Part of this may have to do with how fast Greece locked things down. The first case was reported at the end of February and they began to limit some things shortly after that. Thirty seven days ago, they went into pretty much a nationwide lockdown. It was not as severe as Spain, Italy, or even France but it did greatly limit movement.

Current Movement Limitations

For example, people were not allowed to leave their homes unless they had filled out an official form (or sent a text) detailing which of the 6 accepted reasons they had to go out. Beaches were shut down, hotels were shut down, and finally even all the stores were closed.

The only things currently open are some banks, some restaurants (for takeout or delivery only), some cafes (again, only delivery or takeout), and grocery stores. Everything else has been closed. Oh, and if you are caught outside without that form and ID, the fine is/was €150!

The form that had to be filled out for any outside movement

The Plan to Resume to Normalcy

Tonight, the Greek Prime Minister outlined the plan for reopening the country. For many people, Greece will offer the best opportunity for people seeking a beach destination in Europe, though this would not be until at least July. Also, there is talk of a health passport that visitors will need to have to show they had been tested and given a clean bill of health.

There is hopes that there will still be a tourist season that will last from July until September and possibly stretch into October. Here is the schedule that has been set forth for the reopening, but keep in mind that if cases start to surge, this will be revisited.

  • May 4 – people will be free to travel with the area (prefecture) that they reside in without needing to fill out the police form or send a text message
    • Also, small retail stores (like beauty salons and bookstores) will open as well as churches (but only for people that go in by themselves for prayer)
  • May 11 – some schools will reopen (for those in the grade for ages 16-17)
  • May 17 – churches will reopen but there will be strict rules in place
  • May 18 – Other grades and classes will reopen
    • Also, people will be free to travel anywhere within the country, with the possible exception of traveling to the islands (will remain for residents only)
  • June 1 – shopping malls and department stores will reopen and restaurants will be allowed to host guests
    • Hotels (that are normally operating 12 months a year) will reopen
    • Domestic flights will start up again
    • Entertainment and sport arenas will be open (but things like sporting events will either be canceled or held without spectators)

As you can see, it will still be gradual and it will happen bit by bit. Foreigners should not plan to come here for a while yet as the country reopens. If everything goes according to plan, it could be okay to visit starting in July. But, keep in mind that Greece still may limit those coming from certain countries, depending on the status of the virus in those countries.

Other European countries will soon be announcing their plans to resume their lives to a more normal state as well. I would expect that, again, Greece will be a model for them as this progresses.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

11 Comments

  • Hoping Delta will continue their JFK-ATH, ATH-JFK A330 flight in the summer. My flight has not been canceled as of today in late August

    Also will be interesting to see how the US government allows us to travel internationally and how Greece/EU accepts American citizens…immunity passports, etc.

    Yesterday I spoke with my Marriott Ambassador. She indicated that people are starting to book Crete, Santorini and Athens for July – September

    • I will definitely be following up as soon as I hear what Greece is going to do about Americans. My guess is, based on what I have heard so far, that they will allow Americans but will require the health passport that says they have been recently tested and they are negative.
      If Delta has not canceled that yet, they likely will not unless things get very bad in June. The US-Athens legs are big for US carriers for summer travelers and even if no tourists are making the trip, a ton of Greeks go back and forth in the summer.

      • Looks like JFK-ATH direct won’t begin until July 2 if I’m looking at Delta’s schedule correctly. As of now, July, August and September are good for direct flights

        • That’s good. I think it is a good sign that they aren’t trying to start them up in June, even though flights will be allowed to start flying to Greece again after June 1. They probably feel safe with the July date so they don’t have to do rolling cancellations.

    • It will depend on how this slow opening goes, starting today. They are opening some land borders shortly but still not Turkey. Also, there were some new military aggressions yesterday so it should be interesting to see how this works into the travel plans between Greece and Turkey.

  • Looking forward to further updates, we were supposed to fly over tomorrow but obviously and unfortunately that flight was cancelled. Still have our other trip scheduled for mid September with Emirates, hoping that isn’t cancelled.
    How are things in Greece? Depending on who we talk to there it’s either no problems everything is great or until now it was being under house arrest and terrible.
    Thanks again for the updates they are appreciated!

  • Charlie – Thanks on this info and for keeping us posted. You rightly acknowledge the importance of the Delta direct to Athens from JFK through the summer. NYC metro area (which includes NY state, CT and NJ) has probably the most Greek Americans in the country and these routes are usually packed in the summer. I am booked for direct on July 7. Delta said if they cancel the flight or if they decide to make it a stop over flight, we will be offered cash refunds, which is better than what most are offering I believe. As of now, it looks like Delta will keep reduced direct service to Athens. However looking at my flight, the main cabin is at about 40 percent capacity; should we worry if our flight is still low occupancy as we approach June? Also, you mentioned no difrects in June is a good sign, which means they don;t see the need for rolling cancellations. Can you elaborate on that or explain why that may signify that no further cuts to the route will be enacted? Thanks in advance and stay healthy.

    • Hi, Constantine – I honestly do not believe that Delta will be canceling based on capacity. Right now, there are many that are worried about the extension of the EU borders being closed. Once we get into June, I think many more people will be booking for July. Also, Delta needs that money even if they are not at full capacity (the Greek PM did say he wants all flights filled to capacity – it will be interesting to see how they push that!)
      I think it was a good sign that AA had quickly canceled their planned June schedule and that all airlines set their schedules for July and beyond. The airlines cannot afford to give more in refunds so that they have chosen a date beyond when Greece says it will be opened shows that they feel that is the time to offer these flights. The rolling cancellations we have seen with most airlines happen when they had scheduled service in May or even early June. July should be a safe bet. Thanks and stay safe as well and enjoy the trip!

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