RHODE TO VICTORY – Greece eases lockdown from today as people are allowed outside and hotels to open by June
- 4 May 2020,
- Updated: 4 May 2020,
GREECE has begun to lift its lockdown which was imposed six weeks ago to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Hairdressers, florists and bookstores have reopened from today, with further measures including hotels opening by next month.
Greece, a country of 11 million people, has so far registered 2,626 cases of coronavirus, with 144 deaths, far fewer than in many other European countries.
Greeks no longer need a form stating a valid reason – such as shopping for food or medicine, or taking physical exercise – for permission to leave their homes.
However, face masks are mandatory when using public transport and in shops, which police are carrying out inspections of.
Other small stores including spas and opticians are allowed to open from today, while schools, restaurants and bars will reopen later this month.
Tourists will be pleased to hear that hotels are opening from June 1, although this is expected to be for domestic travellers initially.
These are likely to face strict measures and regulations to be allowed to open, and follows reports that up to 65 per cent of hotels in Greece could face bankruptcy due to plummeting profits.
International visitors may have to provide immunity certificates or health passports to be allowed into the country.
Greece’s minister of state Giorgos Gerapetritis told THEMA 104.6 radio station: “Visitors will come with some sort of certificate. We are going to try to reduce any possibility of the virus spreading.”
Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis added that tourists will also have to pass health checks to be able to enter.
He explained: “We’re discussing this with our epidemiologists.
“It is very likely that we will have some requirements before travelling, but of course this will be done so that everyone has a peace of mind when they travel that they will not come in contact with people who have the virus.”
It could mean the tourist season only runs for three months.
Mr Theoharis explained the focus was now on ensuring the season began in July and ran at the very least through to September, even if a lot of hotels were on course not to open this year.
Greece only emerged in 2018 from a debt crisis that wiped out a quarter of its economic output, and is desperate to let businesses reopen amid fears the coronavirus pandemic will ravage this year’s tourism revenues, a pillar of its economy.
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