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Greece Opens Island Travel, Restaurants: Stage 4 of Easing Covid-19 Restrictions

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.

Travel movements

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.


Photo © Greek Travel Pages (GTP)

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.

Greece Stage 1 of Easing Covid-19 Lockdown Restrictions

Greece Stage 2 of Easing Covid-19 Lockdown Restrictions

Greece Stage 3 of Easing Covid-19 Lockdown Restrictions

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.
  1. April Reply

    Hi Niko,

    Thank you for the article. Is there a map to see with more definition the 3 risk zones Greece has outlined in the article above?

    Thank you,


  2. pat roblett Reply

    I am a UK citizen and own a home in Kefalonia, can I arrive in Greece before 1st July?

    • Konstantinos Sifakis Reply

      I suggest you call the Embassy of Greece in London (google it to get phones numbers). There is a flight from London to Athens. But each flight and each country have different rules/paperwork. Still I suggest if flying is possible to be after 15th of June.

  3. Sandra Fawcett (UK) Reply

    So far as I know, that still applies. Depends, however, on what your Government’s advice is on travelling abroad at the time. For example, in UK the Foreign & Commonwealth Office stipulates that only essential travel abroad is allowed in which case we could cancel if that still applied when we are due to travel. There is no period quoted; simply “until further notice”.

  4. Uli Reply

    does anybody know if the compulsory 14-day home quarantine for people from Germany arriving at Athens airport will be lifted after May 31, 2020?

  5. Holger Reply

    I am just not getting it, is traveling on the islands via plane from Germany allowed before july 1st or not? I am really losing it, everyday someone is saying something else, I find several different news informations per day, makes no sense at all. I just wanna know if we can cancel our trip for free or not since up until now my latest infos were by plane on the islands starting july 1st. Do you have any informations?

    • Medea Reply

      Holger, until July 1st you can fly in only to Athens airport, and then take a ferry boat to islands. from July 1st international flights to the rest of Greece will be resumed.

    • Uli Reply

      Greece will be welcoming international flights from June 15, initially only at Athens International Airport. From July 1, all Greek airports will be open to flights from abroad. (see:

    • Graham Hough Reply

      As I understand it, International flight allowed into Athens only from 15th June.
      International flights to the islands from 1st July.

    • Konstantinos Sifakis Reply

      I know it’s a nightmare :/ I made 30+ calls daily, I was starting to lose my mental health cause of this, so I stopped planning. Canceled 3 of my 6 weeks holidays at work.
      I gave up last Sunday, I called Lufhtansa and they said for May and June they will not flight to islands just Athens. If something will change is depending on Greek authorities.
      So after that call I called Greek ministry of citizen protection. They confirmed what Lufthansa told me and they clearly said to me it will only change something if you hear prime minister himself announcing something different.
      You can flight from 18th of May to Athens only from Frankfurt (from Germany). But it doesn’t worth it, because up to 15th of June quarantine rules apply.
      Do not trust any flights or advertisment for booking, without seeing the specific flight number actually doing that specific flight.
      I went at Frankfurt airport too, only Lufthansa was there while meantime many companies were saying “we are preparing for flights..” bullsh1ts. (many aviation companies try to sell tickets because they need money, I suggest you trust only Lufthansa.. eg Condor does 4-5 days to reply my e-mail, aegean NEVER picked up my calls.. etc).
      My plan is get a flight after 15th of June, if NO QUARANTINE rules apply!! Probably it will be through Athens, local greek authorities saying now that they will do some random tests, so until then if direct flights to islands will be open, of course those would be preferred.

      My final destination is Heraklion, if you also go to Crete too, around 15th of June I can easily help you with anything, my only problem is untill I reach Cretan ground.. eg you won’t have to worry/book hotels and cars etc before getting there.

      Hope it helps, I feel you cause I’m on the same boat..

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