“The whole country is safe,” Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis said to parliament, outlining the country’s plan to reopen. The plan includes a ‘five lines of defence’ strategy, which includes:
- All visitors must be fully vaccinated or present a negative Covid-19 test result;
- A checking system at Greece’s airports and borders, where passengers can be selected randomly to take a rapid test;
- Any visitor who tests positive for coronavirus will be isolated in a ‘quarantine hotel’;
- All tourism industry workers must be vaccinated (they will move up the priority list once the most vulnerable Greek citizens get the vaccine);
- Strict adherence to safety protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing.
Fully vaccinated or negative Covid-19 test
All visitors will have to be fully vaccinated or have proof of a negative Covid-19 test result. Greek officials insist tourists will have to comply with the same rules that locals do to maintain safety. Additionally, Greece is in conversation with 10 countries about bilateral agreements that would allow citizens to travel freely to Greece without having to quarantine.
Greece’s ‘five lines of defence’ strategy would view proof of vaccination as digital proof to safely enter the country. Alternatively, if a traveller has a negative Covid-19 test result, that would be sufficient under these plans.
Key element of airlines bouncing back
Greece could be a key element of European airlines’ bounce-back plan. The resumption of tourism in May could lead to additional flights into the country. Already, low-cost airline Ryanair has added extra flights from the UK to the Greek Isles. British Airways, anticipating the resumption of Greek tourism, is considering re-routing some of the larger planes in its fleet – like Boeing 787s and 777s – that are sitting idle at Heathrow Airport and using them for shorter flights to the Mediterranean.
Europe’s aviation sector has welcomed the proposal by the European Commission for a Digital Green Certificate system to allow post-Covid travel to be safe.