ATHENS -- Greece on Monday lifted quarantine restrictions for travelers from most European countries, as well as Israel and the United States as it prepares to reopen tourism services next month despite an ongoing emergency in pandemic-related hospital care.
Greece's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Monday announced the lifting of a mandatory seven-day quarantine for airline passengers arriving in Greece for those who are permanent residents of the European Union, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Israel. The CAA also announced an extension of Covid-19 restrictions on domestic and foreign flights until 6:00 on Holy Monday, April 26.
All persons arriving in Greece from the above countries must either have a certificate (in English) issued by the relevant authority in their country of departure that they have completed vaccination at least 14 days before arrival or have a negative result in a PCR test for Covid-19 performed in the last 72 hours before arrival.
Restrictions on foreign and domestic flights until April 26 are as follows:
- Domestic flights: The Covid-19 notam covers passenger flights, commercial and general/business avation and restricts all but Essential Travel (travel for health reasons, professional/business reasons, reunification of families and return to a permanent place of residence).
- Forbids entry into Greece of non-EU and Schengen area residents, except for essential travel. Excepted from the above are the permanent residents of the following 12 countries: United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Serbia, United States and Israel.
- All passengers arriving in Greece from abroad (with the exception of those listed above) must self-isolate at home or the temporary place of residence listed on the Passenger Locator Form for seven days. Passengers from abroad may also be subjected to random tests for Covid-19 upon arrival. If the result of this test is positive, they must observe a 14-day quarantine.
- All arrivals from abroad must have a negative PCR test for Covid-19 done up to 72 hours before arriving in Greece.
- All passengers must complete a Passenger Locator Form at the web-site travel.gov.gr as must all passengers who are permanent residents of Greece and depart from the country's airports.
- For passengers from Russia, there is a maximum limit of 4,000 a week and arrival is restricted to the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki and Iraklio.
The same exceptions apply as in previous Covid-19 notams.
The government urgently wants to get tourism going again as it accounts for almost one-fifth of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 167.27 billion euros ($200.3 billion) and draws more than 31 million people each year.
Tourism also is the biggest employer but was essentially shut down in 2020 as COVID-19 spread uncontrolled before vaccinations began and lockdowns that varied between being tough and lenient were imposed.
Revenue from the industry plunged by more than 76 percent when international travel ground to a near halt and people were afraid to go to other countries with the Coronavirus uncontained.
Government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni described the new travel rules as a “pilot measure” as Greece reopens more of its economy, noting that tourists are also subject to domestic travel restrictions.
Greece remains under partial lockdown after widespread restrictions were imposed in early November, but has struggled to contain an urban spike in infections that have kept intensive care facilities close to capacity.