Greece said Friday it would reopen its airports in Athens and Thessaloniki to arrivals from 29 countries from June 15, the start of the tourist season.
Visitors would be allowed to fly into Greece from 16 EU countries, including Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, the Czech Republic, Baltic countries, Cyprus and Malta, the tourism ministry said in a statement.
But countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic — such as France, Spain, Britain, and Italy — were not on the list. Outside the European Union, holidaymakers from Switzerland, Norway, and neighbouring Balkan countries such as Albania, Serbia, and North Macedonia will be allowed to land at Greece’s main airports from June 15.
The list also includes Australia, Japan, Israel, Lebanon, China, New Zealand, and South Korea. The ministry said that further countries could be added before July 1 when the country’s regional airports also reopen.
“The list has been drawn up on the basis of the epidemiological profile of each country,” taking into account the recommendations of the European Aviation Safety Agency and a report by Greece’s commission for infectious diseases, the statement said.
Greece began the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions on May 4 and will start reopening its hotels next month. It has been less severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that many EU countries, with 175 deaths and 2,906 infections officially registered so far.
Earlier last week, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged to work toward the reopening of the summer tourist season on 1 July, after the coronavirus pandemic had put into doubt the future of many tourist-related businesses in the country.
“Greece and the Czech Republic are also negotiating a variant of traveling without a COVID-19 negative test result,” said today in a press release today the Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek after talks with Greek Foreign Minister Harry Theoharis.
“The Greek minister assured us that the vast majority of islands will be open to Czechs. We are also considering an option to enter Greece without a test,” Smolek added.
The Greek government announced the reopening of restaurants and cafes in the country on 1 June, thanks to the population’s great efforts in stifling and stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
Greek authorities on Monday (May 18) opened up more than 200 archaeological sites that were closed for almost two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Archeological sites are in the first category of cultural sites that will reopen, followed by open-air summer cinemas on June 1, museums on June 15, and art events on July 15, culture minister Lina Mendoni has announced.
The sites will operate from 8 am to 8 pm, and the visitors will be required to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from one another. Authorities have also announced strict rules for using the restroom facilities at the sites, including disinfecting the hands and wearing face masks.
Wizz Air is already selling tickets to several Greek destinations from London Luton for July including Zakynthos, Heraklion, Corfu, and Rhodes.