Strict rules such as curfews and party bans are intended to stop the spread of Delta and save the tourist season.
The summer of 2020 was a disaster for the Greek tourism industry: the number of guests plummeted from 31.4 to 7.4 million. In 2021, the hotel and catering industry as well as car rentals were hoping for a comeback. But now the aggressive Delta variant of the coronavirus is hitting the vacation business.
Mykonos is called “Island of the Winds” in the Greek vernacular because of the Meltemis, a stormy north wind that often sweeps over the rocky island in summer. The whistling of the meltemis is currently the only music on Mykonos. After the seven-day incidence on the island hit nearly 400 last week, the government pulled the emergency brake. Now there is a night curfew on the party island. Dancing and music are forbidden. In the event of violations, innkeepers and party organizers face fines of up to 50,000 euros.
If you want to travel to Greece, you have to register electronically on the Internet portal travel.gov.gr at least 24 hours before entry and you will then receive a QR code by email on the day of entry. This must be presented on the smartphone or tablet upon entry. If you don’t have a code, you risk a fine of 500 euros.
The 3G rule applies; a PCR test may not be more than 72 hours old, and a rapid antigen test not more than 48 hours old. The following applies to vaccinations: The second dose must be at least 14 days ago. Regardless of a vaccination certificate or proof of test, Greek authorities can carry out rapid tests upon entry. Those who are positive have to be quarantined for ten days.
The curfew and ban on music are apparently having an effect. The epidemiological situation on Mykonos “stabilized”, said the Greek government spokeswoman on Thursday. The Corona Expert Commission discussed an early lifting of the restrictions. The measures were probably also intended as a warning shot for other holiday islands. Because the virus is not only spreading again on Mykonos. New infections are also increasing sharply on Paros, Ios, Santorini and in Heraklion and Rethymnon on Crete. The Robert Koch Institute has listed Greece as a risk area again since last Sunday. This is an alarm signal for the Greek travel industry.
The government is trying to take countermeasures by offering the hesitant various vaccination bonuses: Young people between 18 and 25 receive a prepaid credit card with 150 euros from the state if they are vaccinated. The premium can be used for travel and cultural events. More than 130,000 authorized persons have already applied for the “Freedom Pass”. Private companies are pulling too: Aegean Airlines adds another 150 euros to flight bookings. Two ferry companies are offering a 50 percent discount on the Freedom Pass.
People who are not mobile or who live far away from the vaccination centers can have themselves vaccinated at home since yesterday. In the next few days, the government is also planning to vaccinate twelve to 15-year-olds. From August, there will also be an inoculation light for employees in the health and care sector. Those who do not get vaccinated are sent on unpaid leave.
In parallel to the vaccination campaign, the government is putting in place restrictions: Travel from the mainland to the islands is only possible with a completed vaccination or a current negative test. The controls are strict. In Piraeus, the port police turn hundreds of travelers away every day because they do not have a vaccination or test certificate.