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Greece Eases COVID Restrictions for Summer Tourism Season

Photo: Reuters

Greece announced on Wednesday that pandemic restrictions such as mask-wearing indoors and COVID certificates will be lifted for the summer tourism period. Authorities are considering reinstating them by September.

Coronavirus cases in the country have eased in the last few weeks, as authorities recorded 15,000 infections and 54 deaths on Tuesday. With a population of 11 million, around 72% are fully vaccinated.

Greece’s summer tourism season usually begins after the Orthodox Easter, which falls on April 24 this year. As a result, Greece expects many visitors, with official predictions of revenues reaching 80% of 2019 levels before the pandemic halted travel. 

Health Minister Thanos Plevris said the decision to ease restrictions was “based on the epidemiological data and suggestions from experts.”

Starting May 1 until August 31, the public will not be required to present coronavirus vaccination or illness certificates to enter public establishments like restaurants. In addition, Greek officials are also considering lifting the requirement of presenting an EU digital COVID certificate to enter their borders.

Additionally, as of June 1, indoor mask-wearing will no longer be mandatory. Students will also be able to return to class after the Easter break without having to present negative self-tests regularly.

All measures will be re-evaluated in September, Plevris said.

One of southern Europe’s most popular summer tourism destinations, Greece attracted more than 33 million visitors in 2019, mainly from Britain and Germany. The industry accounts for about a fifth of the economy and employs one in five people.

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