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Economy

Greek Hotels Say COVID-19 Health Protocols Costly, Can’t Be Done

ATHENS – Strict health measures imposed by the New Democracy government to insure hotels are safe from COVID-19, and to attract tourists, are too difficult and costly to implement, hoteliers said.

The protocols meant to protect guests and staff from the Coronavirus are also vague, they said, with widespread defiance and ignoring of similar measures already in place at businesses such as restaurants, bars and taverns that opened after a lockdown ended.

The hotel owners said the biggest, and most expensive, problem they face is prohibitive: a requirement to have a medic or doctor on site at all time with one telling Kathimerini that some island doctors price is 100 euros ($112.51) per room.

Also, no consideration has been taken over what kind of medical skills are required or how they will be priced, the paper said, with local medical associations publishing fees per hotel room which, however, are not binding for doctors, but lead to higher room charges.

constitute a minimum requirement allowing for far higher charges.

The measures go into force on June 20, leaving the implementation uncertain as the international airports outside Athens and in the second-largest city of Thessaloniki opened June 15 to tourists from countries with safe COVID-19 records and all will open on July 1.

Hotels must cooperate with a doctor, who will perform the necessary tests and monitor guests who are infected with the virus or showing symptoms of it, with no report of what would happen with other guests there.

“It is not the job of hoteliers – and should not be for many reasons – to identify, examine and care for patients suffering from COVID-19,” reportedly read a letter sent by hoteliers to the government.

“This is the job of the public health agencies. If you believe this is necessary for hotels above a certain capacity, the selection of a doctor or a secondary healthcare supplier should come from a list that you will have drafted, and the expense ought to burden the state budget, not the hotel,” they added.

Hoteliers are also concerned about the random testing being carried out at airports, the fluctuations in test costs and shortages in staff training, the report also added.

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