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Economy

Greece Welcomes Tourists for Summer – If They’re Healthy

ATHENS – While Greece eagerly wants tourists to return this summer, after hotels open during an easing of the lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, they’ll have to show they’re healthy and not infected.

Tourists can enter Greece only if they have undergone a test showing they are negative for the virus, according to a proposal the government is reportedly examining under the slogan “We are a safe country and we only accept someone who is definitely not sick."

Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants tourism to begin on July 1, a month after year-round hotels open, although it depends on whether there’s any resurgence in the virus and if international air traffic is in full swing again.

The plan requires that the temperature of tourists will be taken upon their arrival and they must carry a certificate confirming they are healthy, said Kathimerini, although the government said it’s advisable for them to be checked leaving their countries as well.

If they become ill during their vacation or shy symptoms, they will be moved into quarantined structures and hotels contracted with the health system to exclusively host COVID-19 patients, with no word whether that would scare off tourists.

Mitsoakis said Greece expects the European Union, which took weeks to react to the spread of the virus and is notorious for dragging its feet, to come out with a uniform plan for health protocols.

If that doesn’t happen there is a plan for bilateral cooperation with various countries such as Israel, Germany, Russia, but also nations in the Balkans where people can reach Greece by car and not flights.

The European Commission's plan, which will provide guidelines on how hotels, aircraft transport as well as trains and ships will operate, is expected to be made public on May 13 while the government will reveal its tourism plan early in June, already deep into the season with that sector the country’s biggest revenue driver.

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