Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Monday clarified that any safety and health rules that apply to Greek citizens – such as mandatory mask wearing and social distancing – will also apply to tourists visiting Greece.
“What applies to Greek citizens, also applies to tourists. All this paraphrasing about only tourists having free movement is false… We will not discriminate,” Theoharis said in parliament addressing main opposition Syriza.
“Our country has specific rules – following the recommendation of experts – which apply to all tourists and all Greek citizens. This will continue in the summer,” he added.
The minister highlighted that there will be no discrimination between vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals.
“We will not have restaurants open only for the vaccinated,” he said as an example.
Greece will officially open its gates to tourists on May 14.
During his speech, Theoharis presented the ministry’s road map for the opening of Greek Tourism in 2021.
“We are opening with a plan that includes five lines of defence,” the Greek tourism minister said, adding that entrance to Greece will be allowed to travelers that have been vaccinated against the coronavirus (Covid-19) or have a negative PCR test result.
Greek authorities will also conduct random Covid-19 tests at the country’s entrance points through the EVA system. “This will help us identify those who are (Covid-19) positive at borders,” he said. Travelers who test positive for coronavirus upon arrival in Greece will be transferred immediately from the airport to a quarantine hotel, according to the ministry’s roadmap.
Vaccination of tourism workers, Health protocols
Greece is also putting the vaccination of tourism workers as a priority, while all of the sector’s enterprises will follow the strict rules of health protocols.
“These are the same protocols that kept our citizens and visitors safe last year and they will do the same this year,” he said.
According to the minister, the health protocols for Greece’s tourism enterprises are currently being updated.
“The protocols that were in force last year are still in force now. The tourism enterprises have the experience and the knowledge. They implemented the protocols in an exemplary way last year and that is why we avoided problems… Right now we are examining the protocols with health experts to see what improvements can be made and what flexibility can be offered to businesses, without compromising in the slightest the health safety of workers, tourists and the general population,” Theoharis said.
The updated health protocols that will be in force this summer are expected to be released in about two weeks.