The updated health protocols that are to be applied in accommodation businesses of Greece’s tourism sector to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) are expected to be officially released in the coming days, according to Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki.
Speaking to Thema 104,6 radio on Monday, the deputy minister underlined that all tourism enterprises last year implemented the health and safety measures with success.
She added that the protocols that businesses will be called to follow this year have been updated and may even be announced this week.
Greece will officially open its gates to tourists on May 14.
Health protocols for 2021
The health protocols for tourism have been examined and updated following consultations between the Tourism Ministry, the National Public Health Organization (EODY), the Health Ministry, the Covid-19 committee of experts and tourism sector bodies.
The specifications for the operation of Greece’s hotels this season will apply to all types of tourist accommodation establishments regardless of technical and operational features, classification, type and duration of operation.
Hotels will be obliged to develop an action plan to prevent the occurrence and to provide effective management of suspicious cases in order to protect staff and guests from exposure.
Specific measures will also be in force in all common use areas, kitchens, restaurants, playgrounds, spa services and swimming pools.
As like last season, both hotel staff and guests will be required to adhere to a number of health and safety rules to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The rules will include mandatory mask wearing, avoiding handshakes, social distancing and following signage (to remind customers to keep their distance from one another).
What may be different
According to sources, a key difference from last year’s protocols concerns dining at hotel restaurants with buffets. Last year hotel guests were not allowed to serve themselves at buffets. However, this year hotel staff will be on call to provide guests with disposable gloves so that guests will be able to select their own food and serve themselves. Once a guest reaches the end of the buffet he or she must discard of the gloves in a nearby trash bin.
Another difference with last year’s protocols concerns the entry of non-guests into hotels. Last year, non-guests were prohibited from entering hotels to see other guests residing there. This rule is said to be under examination and may possibly be lifted.
Specific guidelines and health protocols for safe travel with ferries this summer are also expected to be announced soon from the Greek Shipping Ministry.
According to reports, passengers are not expected to be obliged to present a negative Covid-19 test result (PCR, rapid test or self test) prior to entering a ferry.
Like last year, passengers will be required to fill in a health status questionnaire (available at ports or it can be downloaded from a special website, which will be announced) before boarding ferries. The questionnaire may also be available in digital format this year.
Greece opens for tourism on May 14
Greece will officially open its gates to tourists on May 14. The tourism ministry’s road map for the opening of Greek tourism this year includes travelers entering only with a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test result. Random Covid-19 tests will also be conducted at Greece’s entrance points through the EVA system. The government has also announced that it would be putting the vaccination of tourism workers as a priority, while all of the sector’s enterprises will follow updated strict health protocols. Quarantine hotels will once again be available in Greece where detected cases will be isolated immediately.