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"Country Safe:" Greece Will Reopen to Tourists May 14, During Pandemic

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Sotiris Dimitropoulos)

ATHENS - With cases of COVID10, deaths and people in critical care at record levels across Greece, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis said Greece will use a line of defenses to open to foreign visitors on May 14.

“The whole country is safe,” he said, reported Kathmerini, as he added the plan will safeguard against the Coronavirus being brought in although a German tourist who landed on Crete was infected, a test showed.

Greece is counting both on residents being vaccinated as a slow-rolling campaign is picking up, and will require tourists to show proof of being fully inoculated or a negative test for the virus.

There will also be random checking at borders and airports, quarantine hotels for the isolation of any visitors with the virus, vaccinating workers in the tourism sector and allegedly strict health protocols being followed.

But the tourism workers won’t be getting their shots until after those with multiple or underlying health conditions and there was no word how enforcing rules for masks and safe social distances would be checked at hotels across the country and island.

The move comes after people flocked to beaches and public gathering spots in defiance of health restrictions while the government spokesman Aristoelia Peloni said they hadn’t, despite videos showing otherwise.

Greece also had begun vaccinating every resident on small islands as part of a plan to create COVID-19 free spots for visitors but Theoharis said it was really just a procedure and there’s no guarantees.

Heat the rules that apply to Greek citizens apply in their entirety, without exception, to visitors from abroad even though they weren’t being fully enforced. “We make no discrimination,” he reiterated.

The New Democracy government is eager to restart tourism to help bolster an economy that shrank 8.5 percent in 2020 as the pandemic raged and with hopes to let bars, restaurants, taverns and caterers open after Easter on May 2 to be available to tourists and residents as well.