Greece has been added to the “amber” list of countries as part of the reopening of international travel from 17 May.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced on Friday that the country would not make the list of ‘safe’ green countries, stating that the removal of international travel restrictions on May 17 was “necessarily cautious”, adding: “We must make sure the countries we reconnect with are safe.”
The lists are expected to be reviewed and updated every three weeks.
And with tourism accounting for 20 per cent of GDP and providing one in five jobs, it’s unsurprising that the European country has been at the forefront of campaigns to let international tourism resume this summer.
While the Greek government has confirmed a date for tourists to return, there’s no guarantee that British travellers will be able to escape quarantine measures when they get back to the UK.
Foreign travel will reopen this summer in England under a traffic light system, with countries split into three categories - green, amber or red - depending on their level of risk in relation to Covid-19.
Destinations will make it onto the green list based on their case numbers, vaccination rates, and prevalence of any virus variants of concern. Visitors to these countries will not be required to quarantine upon their return to the UK unless they test positive for coronavirus.
So, is a Greek getaway likely this summer? Here’s everything you need to know.
Will British holidaymakers be allowed to travel to Greece this summer?
Greek tourism minister Harry Theoharis confirmed that the country would open to tourism on 14 May, with security protocols and testing in place. Quarantine regulations are now lifted for fully vaccinated travellers and those who have tested negative for Covid.
However, it remains illegal to travel abroad from the UK for holidays, although this is expected to change from 17 May in England.
What will travel to an amber list country entail?
Holidaymakers travelling home from a destination on the amber list will need to take a pre-departure test - which can be a lateral flow or rapid antigen test, as well as a PCR test - with proof of a negative result.
Upon arrival to the UK from an amber list country, travellers must self-isolate at home for 10 days, plus pay to take two PCR tests: one on day two and one on day eight.
Will I need to have been vaccinated to visit Greece?
Holidaymakers travelling to Greece are expected to provide either proof of full vaccination, or a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of their arrival, to be allowed into the country.
Anyone travelling to Greece must comply with the Greek authorities’ requirements, including completion of a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before you travel (both into and out of Greece).
What rules and restrictions are currently in place in Greece?
Lockdown measures throughout the country have been lifting gradually, with restaurants and coffee shops reopening for outdoor business only on 3 May, and a national curfew extended from 9pm to 11pm.
The wearing of face masks is mandatory in all public places throughout Greece.
Retail stores are only open for ‘click-and-collect’ purposes and individuals are limited to a maximum of three hours of shopping per day.
Furthermore, residents are currently required to certify all movements outside their accommodation by completion of a self-written note, online form or text service hosted by the Greek authorities. This includes activities such as going to a bank, a supermarket, visiting a pharmacy or doctor, engaging in physical outdoor exercise, or even taking a dog for a walk.
It is hoped that existing lockdown restrictions will be lifted by the time the country fully opens to tourists on 14 May.
Speaking at the International Tourism Fair ITB Berlin on 9 March, Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis said that the country was “more than optimistic” and “ready” to receive visitors.
“We aim to open tourism by 14 May, with specific rules and updated protocols. Until then, we will gradually lift the restrictions if conditions allow,” he said, adding that those working in the Greek tourism industry would be prioritised for vaccination after the vulnerable.
What is the current Covid-19 status in Greece?
According to the World Health Organisation, there have been 10,764 deaths from coronavirus recorded in Greece to date. Over three million vaccine doses have been administered, equating to around 15 per cent of the country’s population. Cases are continuing to fall throughout Greece.
Speaking on Wednesday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he was “very, very sure” the Covid situation would have improved significantly within a month’s time, citing a combination of widespread testing, immunisation and outdoor activities as vital in improving the current situation.