With the reopening of restaurants, cafes and bars, and allowing travel to and from the islands, Greece on Monday entered the fourth stage of easing the restrictive measures that had been imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“The cooperation of citizens and the state is absolutely necessary… We are moving forward with caution,” the deputy minister of civil protection, Nikos Hardalias, said on Sunday, adding that the phase of lifting the restrictive measures is progressing smoothly.
“The epidemiological data is good, the (government’s) recommendations are being followed in general and this is how we must continue,” Hardalias said.
From May 25, travel by ferry has been allowed to all of the Greek islands.
According to the new health protocols, ferries without cabins are allowed to carry 50 percent of their maximum passenger capacity. Vessels that have cabins are allowed to transport 55 percent of their capacity.
Prior to boarding a ferry at Greek ports of departure, all passengers to travel on a route that is over 30 minutes are obliged to submit a previously filled out health status questionnaire to the crew. Thermal screening will be applied to all passengers entering ferries. In case the crew discovers – based on the questionnaire – that a passenger either has Covid-19 symptoms or has been exposed to a coronavirus patient in the last 14 days, boarding will be prohibited. Ferry crews have received training in order to deal with Covid-19 suspected cases.
It is reminded that all passengers and crew members must wear a face mask at all times while on board. In addition, all ships are disinfected at the end of their journeys.
The new health protocols for ferries in Greece are valid until June 15. They are monitored daily and will be will be re-evaluated by the Maritime Ministry in collaboration with health experts.
It is noted that from June 1 until October 31, the VAT charged on ferry tickets will be reduced to 13 percent from 24 percent.
Reopening of restaurants, cafes and bars
Greece’s outdoor areas of restaurants, cafes and bars have reopened with new rules for owners and customers. The indoor areas of the specific establishments are expected to open by June 15.
According to the new rules by the government, one customer per two square meters will be allowed in the indoor and outdoor spaces of restaurants, cafes and bars.
Other rules include a minimum distance between tables (ranging from from 0.70 cm to 1.70 cm) and a maximum number of customers per table (six people, but there is no limit in the case of a family with minors). Face masks are to be worn by employees at all times and customers are also advised to wear face coverings.
Bodies of Greece’s food industry have released guidelines for restaurant, cafe and bar owners in order to help them adjust to the new reality:
– crowding should be avoided and the setting of tables and seats of outdoor and indoor spaces should be based on the given instructions
– customers should be encouraged to make intact transactions when paying
– owners should place special markings on the floor for customers to maintain physical distances and to avoid the forming of queues
– owners should place a plexiglas divider between the register and customers if deemed necessary
– customers and employees should be encouraged to use the stairs and avoid elevators as much as possible.
– signage should be in visible areas throughout the establishment to remind the basic hygiene rules to customers and staff (proper use of gloves, masks, proper hand washing and distance maintenance)
It is noted that from June 1 until October 31, the VAT charged on coffee and non-alcoholic beverages will be reduced to 13 percent from 24 percent.
Greece’s restaurants, cafes and bars reopened one week earlier than scheduled due to the good epidemiological data on the course of the Covid-19 pandemic in Greece.
The coronavirus has so far infected 2,878 people in Greece and the death toll has reached 171, still among the lowest among EU member-states.