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Greece travel: Am I allowed to visit, are hotels and restaurants open and what rules are in place?

As tentative signs start to emerge of a revival for the travel industry, our minds are turning to potential holiday destinations for this summer.

With sun, sea and dolmades, Greece has long been a popular travel destination for Britons in need of some vitamin D.

But can British holidaymakers get there? And will we even be welcome?

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Here’s everything you need to know.

Am I allowed to travel to Greece from the UK?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a blanket warning against all non-essential international travel in March, but this has now been lifted for 67 destinations as of 4 July.

Greece was on this list, meaning Britons can now visit there without invalidating their travel insurance.

How could I get there?

Air links with the UK were suspended in March, but are permitted to resume from 15 July.

EasyJet resumes flights from London to Athens on 23 July, to Mykonos on 24 July and to Corfu on 19 July. Its earliest flight to Greece departs for Thessaloniki on 16 July.

Flights are available with Ryanair from London to Athens starting 26 July; to Corfu from 19 July; and to Thessaloniki from 16 July.

Wizz, Aegean and British Airways are also offering flights to various Greek destinations.

Will they let me in when I arrive?

Yes. Finally, as of 15 July, Brits are allowed back into the country again, though with some stipulations.

Travellers must complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before their arrival in Greece. The form is online, in English.

Once you have completed the form, you will receive an email acknowledgement and, in a separate email, a QR code. This code is likely to be sent up to 24 hours before travel, regardless of how early the form is filled in.

When you receive your code, either print it or ensure you can display it on your mobile phone. You will need to show your code to Greek authorities on your arrival into the country, and some airlines may also ask to see it before they let you board.

When you arrive in Greece, the authorities will scan the QR code and may direct you for health screening (including testing for coronavirus).

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive?

Possibly.

According to the Foreign Office, the Greek authorities may require you to undergo testing for coronavirus as part of a health screening when you arrive in Greece. Any passenger may be asked to undergo a test, but you are more likely to be asked if you’ve arrived from a country outside of the EU (including the UK), either directly or via indirect flights.

After testing, you’ll need to self-isolate at the address given on your PLF form until you receive the results, which should be available within 24 hours.

New Zealand health expert criticises UK quarantine measures.

If your test is negative, you will no longer need to self-isolate. If your test result is positive, the Greek authorities are likely to ask you to quarantine for 14 days. Depending on the nature of your accommodation, you may be instructed to move to government-provided accommodation, the costs of which will be paid by the Greek authorities.

Be aware that even if you don’t have coronavirus, you may be asked to self-isolate if someone else from your flight tests positive.

Can I travel within Greece including between Greek islands?

Yes. Flights are operating within the country, and travelling throughout Greece, including the islands, has been permitted since 25 May.

If you’re travelling via ferry, you will need to complete a health questionnaire and hand it to the ferry operator before boarding, according to the FCO. “The necessary forms will be provided by the operator: you should contact them directly if you need further information. Temperature checks may also be carried out before boarding; and it is obligatory to wear masks on all ferries, whose capacity is limited to allow for social distancing.”

Those travelling on internal domestic flights will also be required to wear a mask. Specific measures relating to check-in, baggage allowances and other details are in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Are hotels open?

Yes. Previously only year-round hotels could open but, as of 15 June, seasonal hotels in tourist destinations have also been allowed to admit guests.

Airbnb accommodation also remains available.

Are restaurants, shops and attractions open?

Restaurants, fast-food joints, bars, internet cafes, shops and open-air nightclubs have been open since 6 June.

From 15 June, museums, historic buildings and areas, theme parks, gyms, saunas, spas and thermal springs have also been able to open to visitors, albeit with new rules in place, such as limiting the number of customers per square metre.

Archaeological sites are now operating on extended summer hours (8am-8pm) and visitor numbers per hour are capped to avoid overcrowding.

What rules are in place?

You must wear a face mask at all times when on an aeroplane or ferry travelling to or from Greece; and whilst at airports. It’s mandatory to wear face masks on public transport (including ferries), in taxis, in all medical facilities and in lifts. The use of face masks is strongly recommended in other enclosed spaces too.

Travel in a private car or a taxi is limited to a maximum of two adult passengers per vehicle, in addition to the driver. Any children in the vehicle do not count towards this limit.

Will I have to quarantine when I come home?

Not anymore.

Although the government implemented a blanket two-week quarantine for all inbound arrivals on 8 June, from 10 July this was lifted for certain countries.

Places regarded as “low-risk” by the Joint Biosecurity Centre – which was set up to coordinate the government’s response to the pandemic – are now exempt from mandatory self-isolation.

Greece is one of the 59 destinations that is exempt for travellers entering England, Wales or Northern Ireland, and is also on Scotland’s separate list of 57 countries from where arrivals no longer need to quarantine.

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