My experience traveling to Greece during the COVID pandemic


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As we speak: My expertise touring to Greece through the COVID19 pandemic

Final month, I traveled to the stunningly lovely Greek islands of Santorini, Ios, and Mykonos for an extended summer season vacation with my household. I’ll quickly add my opinions & YouTube movies of the fabulous inns I stayed at, and I’ll additionally publish some further movies of thrilling actions as properly (e.g. helicopter flight over Santorini’s caldera, kitesurfing in Mykonons, and so forth …). On this blogpost, I need to share my private expertise of touring to Greece through the ongoing COVID pandemic (the great, the unhealthy, and the downright ugly). So, if you happen to’re planning a visit to Greece, right here’s what you’ll have to know and count on.

First some data and context: I’m totally vaccinated since March (Pfizer). I additionally stay very prudent in my each day social interactions at work and in my personal life, primarily as a result of I need to defend the well being of probably weak individuals in my direct atmosphere and in addition as a result of I obtained COVID myself final January.  Additionally, the delta variant of the virus (first recognized in India) is spreading quickly the world over, and that is additionally the case in Greece. Shortly earlier than my departure final month, the variety of COVID circumstances in Greece was rising exponentially, particularly on the island of Mykonos, the place the 7 day an infection charge rose to a staggering 3500 infections per 100,000 inhabitants (equal of round 50 new circumstances of COVID per day on the island). Sadly, Greece’s coronavirus surge is getting worse by the day, and it simply hit a brand new report this week with 4181 new circumstances in in the future.

On this article:

  1. Documentation wanted for journey to Greece
  2. My flight to Greece (with Lufthansa)
  3. Lodge stays inside Greece
  4. Mini-lockdown in Mykonos
  5. Island hopping in Greece


1. DOCUMENTION NEEDED PRIOR TO TRAVEL TO GREECE

If you’re a citizen of one of many following nations, you’re allowed to journey to Greece: European Union and Schengen Space nations, USA, UK, Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Montenegro, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, UAE, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Moldova, and Brunei.

For vacationers from most of those nations, quarantine in Greece could be skipped on situation of a unfavourable COVID PCR take a look at inside 72 hours earlier than journey, an infection inside the previous 2-9 months, or full vaccination, accomplished at the very least 14 days earlier. Acceptable vaccines are Pfizer BioNtech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novovax, Johnson + Johnson, Sinovac, Sputnik, Cansino and Sinopharm. That is in deviation from official EU coverage, which is to solely admit those that have obtained EU-approved vaccines.

Al vacationers should full a Passenger Locator Kind (PLF) previous to departure. This consists of particulars of the place you might have been and the tackle you intend to remain at in Greece. Every PLF features a distinctive QR code which might be scanned upon arrival on the Greek border. The QR code will let you know whether or not it’s worthwhile to have an extra take a look at finished on the airport. When you do, you could self-isolate till you might have the outcomes — round 24 hours. Quarantine inns are able to accommodate those that take a look at optimistic throughout this course of.


2. MY FLIGHT TO GREECE (WITH LUFTHANSA)

Germany has weathered the COVID storm higher than many nations in Europe, which could be contributed partially to the inhabitants’s disciplinary conduct. Germans are well-known for his or her self-discipline and punctuality, and so is its flag service, Lufthansa. I used to be anticipating a zero COVID tolerance coverage from Lufthansa (a reassuring thought), however that turned out to not be the case.

The bottom expertise appeared to observe all of the strict COVID protocols, reflecting the brand new regular on the planet of journey. For instance, entry to the Lufthansa lounge was solely doable when downloading a German app or finishing a doc for contact tracing. As well as, passengers needed to current one of many following: a unfavourable Corona take a look at (max. 24h previous), proof of vaccination in opposition to COVID or proof of restoration. Whereas this may be an excessive amount of trouble and fuss for some, it’s deemed secure by specialists and possibly additionally one of many the reason why Germany remains to be doing nice throughout the newest surge of the pandemic (it at present has one of many lowest COVID charges in Europe, regardless of rising circumstances in virtually every other nation on the continent).

Nonetheless, issues had been completely different within the air. A part of it was not the duty of Lufthansa, because the passengers on this flight turned out to be in a non-COVID way of thinking (which may be defined by Mykonos’ repute as a celebration island, attracting a crowd that’s presumably not fearful of the pandemic and in addition doesn’t observe the foundations to mitigate the unfold of an infection). For instance, my seat mate unmasked proper after takeoff and took a nap, face away from the aisle as to partially disguise his mask-less face from the cabin crew. Even worse, a number of passengers stored strolling up and down the aisle, and chatted with mates or kinfolk in different seats, all whereas not placing their face masks on. To my very own disappointment, the Lufthansa cabin crew didn’t intervene nor did they instruct passengers to put on their masks correctly (I suppose they had been overwhelmed by so many passengers not complying with the onboard masks coverage that they gave up). It was an enormous distinction with my expertise on the return flight to Paris with Transavia, the place the cabin crew was consistently monitoring passengers to verify they wore their face masks correctly (those that didn’t comply had been confronted instantly).

Some might imagine that my worries are baseless. Nonetheless, as a health care provider, I imagine in science, not in anti-science propaganda. And the information are clear: face masks can assist restrict the unfold of COVID and vaccination will defend you in opposition to extreme illness. However vaccinated individuals can nonetheless transmit the virus to somebody who doesn’t have the vaccine and/or whose well being is compromised (or has a earlier current situation). Subsequently, not carrying a face masks on a airplane is an extremely egocentric act as you set the well being of others (together with your personal family members) in danger, even if you end up totally vaccinated.


3. MY HOTEL EXPERIENCES WITHIN GREECE

I stayed at 7 completely different inns throughout my journey (I’ll quickly add my opinions + YouTube movies):

  • 4 inns in Mykonos: Aeonic Suites, Myconian Imperial, Kalesma, and Invoice & Coo Coast Suites
  • 2 inns in Santorini: Cavo Tagoo Santorini and Andronis Arcadia
  • 1 lodge in Ios: Calilo (PHENOMENAL lodge property)

Calilo – one in every of Greece’s high inns – was the one resort the place I felt fully secure from a COVID perspective because it was clear that each the lodge administration and workers took the pandemic – and the well being of their company – significantly. Calilo had applied a number of measures: tables had been positioned at a secure distance within the restaurant, hand sanitizers had been accessible all over the place, physique temperatures had been checked upon arrival, all lodge workers wore their face masks correctly always, waiters on the breakfast buffet served company, and so forth …

Issues had been completely different although in any respect the opposite inns I stayed at, with one factor all of them had in widespread: the workers not carrying their face masks correctly (more often than not solely masking their chin). I couldn’t assist however surprise why Asian individuals are so disciplined on the subject of carrying face masks whereas in Europe so many refuse to (or don’t know tips on how to) put on their face masks accurately. Firstly of my vacation, I used to be aggravated each time I noticed somebody not carrying their face masks correctly (particularly given the skyrocketing variety of COVID circumstances in Mykonos on the time). Nonetheless, after just a few days, I gave up and accepted the truth that once you journey, there’s solely little you are able to do if different individuals don’t observe the correct COVID tips, hereby inflicting a possible danger to your personal well being. In fact, there have been some reassuring ideas: I’m totally vaccinated, the great climate allowed outside dwelling, and I didn’t go to the island’s occasion scene (the place a lot of the infections appeared to happen).

Due to COVID, most inns changed their breakfast buffets by menus, though some inns select to maintain their all-you-can-eat breakfast feasts. In fact, there have been restrictions in place: hand sanitizer was supplied and company had been required to put on masks when standing to gather meals. Nonetheless, there was one lodge the place I felt that the breakfast buffet was missing some COVID security requirements: Myconian Imperial (Mykonos). The breakfast was fantastically displayed (the most effective breakfast buffets in Greece) however it was overcrowded with company, most of them strolling across the buffet stations with out masks. I shared my suggestions with the restaurant supervisor, who assured me that each one security protocols had been adopted. Additionally, in keeping with authorities reviews, the lodge has had zero reported COVID circumstances, so apparently they’re doing nice. However, as a visitor, I felt that the resort may have averted this uncomfortable state of affairs by both providing an a la carte menu as a substitute of buffet, by introducing a reservation system for breakfast, or by imposing a masks and glove coverage.


4. MINI-LOCKDOWN IN MYKONOS

Referred to as the occasion island of the wealthy and well-known, Mykonos is one in every of Greece’s hottest locations, attracting greater than 1,000,000 guests every summer season, amongst them Hollywood stars, fashions and athletes. Nonetheless, following a worrying native COVID outbreak at first of my go to, authorities in Greece applied a mini-lockdown: music on the island was banned across the clock, together with in retailers, cafes and seashore bars. And there was a curfew between 1 am to six am apart from these going to and from work or to hospital. Apparently, 14 days later (within the final week of my vacation), the state of affairs improved and authorities lifted the restrictions. In line with media, the surge in COVID circumstances in Mykonos was in charge on events that came about in personal villas and luxurious yachts with no strict management by the authorities .

At present, Mykonos stays beneath fixed surveillance by authorities and new measures are usually not dominated out if leisure steady as earlier than, rules are usually not noticed, or a brand new improve of infections is recorded. However Mykonos just isn’t the one Greek island that’s experiencing coronavirus outbreaks. For instance, the island of Paros, additionally within the Cyclades group, is beneath elevated surveillance as properly, nevertheless, there’s a completely different mannequin of utilized “restrictions”: intensive management checks in amenities the place crowding phenomena are being noticed.

For a weekly replace of the COVID state of affairs in Greece, click on right here.


5. ISLAND HOPPING

If you’re touring by ferry inside Greece, it’s worthwhile to fill out the digital Well being Assertion Kind or its print model and current a unfavourable COVID take a look at.

The Well being Assertion Kind is accomplished by grownup passengers for his or her ferry journey inside 24 hours earlier than every ferry journey. In case your itinerary consists of multiple ferry crossings, it’s worthwhile to fill out the shape for every ferry journey, coming into the related particulars. You may both print your assertion or put it aside in your cellular machine.

Your proof of unfavourable COVID take a look at for ferry journey inside Greece could be any of the next:

  • Full vaccination certificates (legitimate so long as 14 days have handed since full vaccination)
  • Official affirmation of COVID an infection issued 30 days after the primary optimistic take a look at (legitimate for 180 days after the primary optimistic take a look at)
  • Unfavourable results of PCR take a look at carried out as much as 72 hours earlier than departure
  • Unfavourable results of speedy take a look at carried out as much as 48 hours earlier than departure
  • Unfavourable results of a COVID self-test carried out as much as 24 hours earlier than departure, solely legitimate for passengers 12-17 years previous (the result’s declared both in writing on the printed model of the self-test end result declaration kind or by way of the self-test end result declaration platform for Greek residents, in addition to on the Well being Assertion Kind)

So, in case you are not (totally) vaccinated but, it is best to rethink your plan to island hop inside Greece, as you’ll need to carry out a brand new COVID take a look at each time you intend to journey by ferry.

There are just a few exceptions:

  • If you journey from the islands to Greece’s mainland, a unfavourable results of a COVID self-test carried out as much as 24 hours earlier than departure can be legitimate for all adults.
  • If you journey by ferry in Greece between islands of various administrative areas (e.g. from Crete to Santorini), you don’t have to fill out the Well being Declaration Kind.
  • If you journey by ferry in Greece between islands of the identical administrative areas (e.g. from Santorini to Mykonos), you don’t have to fill out the Well being Declaration Kind, and a unfavourable results of a COVID self-test carried out as much as 24 hours earlier than departure can be legitimate for all adults.

Ferry journey measures inside Greece are topic to alter relying on the COVID state of affairs per area (click on right here for a superb web site that’s offering up-to-date data). Be sure to arrive on the port at the very least 1.5 hours earlier than departure and have all needed paperwork available for checks.


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