Travel this year (and possibly for a few years to come) will definitely not be the same as it was last year. Yet, people are still planning to get out and travel when it becomes healthy and safe to do so and Greece is ready to receive those that want a summer vacation in Greece. Read: When can Americans travel to Greece?
Health Measures at Hotels in Greece This Year
To keep everyone healthy, Greece has instituted health protocols for hotels that will be observed under penalty of fines and closure. So, if you are traveling to Greece this year, here are the things you should expect when it comes to hotels. These protocols are put in place through the end of 2020. Remember, year round hotels can now be open and all hotels can open as of July 1.
Going forward, the staff at hotels will have be trained in the handling and transmission of the virus and will be wearing masks or face shields (if they work in reception) as well as disposable gloves. They will also be required to keep a log book of any covid events and the guests (within the allowance of the privacy in GDPR).
The Hotel and Room
When checking in, there will be marks to keep customers 2 meters apart. So, if you are staying at a hotel with a lot of guests, be prepared for some long lines at check in. You will also find hand sanitizer at the counters to wash with while you are waiting/after you check in.
Keys will be disinfected after each person is done using them and the rooms will need to be cleaned based on one of two choices – 24 hours between guests when it involves a regular cleaning or a meticulous cleaning with steam cleaners if waiting less than 24 hours.
On that topic, the ministry says that the 11am checkout and 3pm check in are “mandatory” but I will be checking to see how this is enforced if the hotel is not having many visitors or if the guest has elite status (which would typically allow the guest to stay longer than the normal checkout).
There will no longer be daily changing of towels and sheets except for changes done during the evening at the customer’s request. So, if you are someone who likes everything fresh daily, just know that this will not happen without a request from you.
And this and all other practices should be available to you through a brochure, e-mail, or in your room when you check-in.
The Ministry has advised that hotels remove decorative pieces from the guest rooms as well as common items like magazines, etc. So, if you are someone who actually likes that part of rooms, you may find those missing on your next stay!
Many hotels in Greece do include a breakfast buffet, often in the room charge. These buffets can be quite good and a great reflection on Greek cuisine!
However, going forward, these buffets will no longer be self-serve but will be handled by restaurant staff and behind some kind of “sneeze” guard to protect the food.
This will incur some added expense, both for the new setup and the staff. Do not be surprised if hotels that used to include the breakfast for free now charge a fee of some kind for it.
Also, all drink machines (juice, coffee, etc) should now only be operated by hotel staff. This could mean lines at these stations in busy hotels unless the hotel chooses to have staff serve each table.
Do not be surprised if these measures stay in place for next year and the year after as well. Good hygiene is one thing that many people had not observed before the coronavirus (all around the world) and once hotels install the necessary measures to comply with these new protocols, they may just keep them in place.
But, at least you know some of the changes which you can expect in Greece at hotels this summer. If you stay at Airbnb properties, it will be different for sure but I would expect Greece to have some protocols in place for such properties as well.
To read more, you can visit the ministry’s website here.