Greece’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Monday announced the lifting of a mandatory seven-day quarantine for airline passengers arriving in Greece for those who are permanent residents of the European Union, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Israel. The CAA also announced an extension of Covid-19 restrictions on domestic and foreign flights until 6:00 on Holy Monday, April 26.
All persons arriving in Greece from the above countries must either have a certificate (in English) issued by the relevant authority in their country of departure that they have completed vaccination at least 14 days before arrival or have a negative result in a PCR test for Covid-19 performed in the last 72 hours before arrival.
The decision by the Greek authorities aim to boost badly hit from the pandemic tourist industry that contributes over 20% of the country’s GDP. Some optimists predict U.S tourist numbers to tie those of 2019.
It expected to have 8 daily direct flights to Greece from the United States during the summer months:
- Three from New York’s JFK (2 Delta and 1 American Airlines).
- Two from New Jersey’s Newark (Emirates, United)
- One from Washington’s Dulles (United)
- One from Philadelphia (American)
- One from Chicago (American).
U.S. airliners’ decision to increase direct flights have been taken despite the fact that Greece is considered a category 3 country and U.S. citizens are advised to reconsider travelling. But the State Department announced Monday that it would begin to update its travel advisories to more closely align with those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a change that “will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide.”
Given the present Covid-19 case numbers in Greece, it is expected for the country to move to category 4.
Minister of Tourism Haris Theoharis is expected to visit the United States in the coming days and hold meeting in Atlanta and Chicago with U.S. Airline officials.
Restrictions on foreign and domestic flights until April 26 are as follows:
– Domestic flights: The Covid-19 notam covers passenger flights, commercial and general/business avation and restricts all but Essential Travel (travel for health reasons, professional/business reasons, reunification of families and return to a permanent place of residence).
– Forbids entry into Greece of non-EU and Schengen area residents, except for essential travel. Excepted from the above are the permanent residents of the following 12 countries: United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Serbia, United States and Israel.
– All passengers arriving in Greece from abroad (with the exception of those listed above) must self-isolate at home or the temporary place of residence listed on the Passenger Locator Form for seven days. Passengers from abroad may also be subjected to random tests for Covid-19 upon arrival. If the result of this test is positive, they must observe a 14-day quarantine.
– All arrivals from abroad must have a negative PCR test for Covid-19 done up to 72 hours before arriving in Greece.
– All passengers must complete a Passenger Locator Form at the web-site travel.gov.gr as must all passengers who are permanent residents of Greece and depart from the country’s airports.
– For passengers from Russia, there is a maximum limit of 4,000 a week and arrival is restricted to the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki and Iraklio.
The same exceptions apply as in previous Covid-19 notams.
THE FULL TEXT OF THE NOTAM
We welcome you to Greece and hope you enjoy a wonderful and unforgettable holiday experience.
On behalf of the Greek Government and the Greek Ministry of Tourism, we would like you to know that we have done our utmost for you to feel safe in our country and be well. Your health is our absolute priority and this is non-negotiable.
Greece is opening its borders gradually, in a safe and feasible manner. The soft opening, onthe 19th of April, comes with a few travel requirements,that will soon be lifted for the full opening next month.
In the following paragraphs, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to prepare before traveling to Greece as of the 19th of April.
Updated information relating to the fullopening, by the 14th of May, will be announced in due time.
We have set out the following guidelines to ensure the protection of your own health, that of your family, as well as all those involved in offering you a safe hospitalityexperience:
– As of the 19th of April, every traveler coming to Greece from abroad should possess a negative PCR certificate from a testing laboratory for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.
This test is mandatory for all travelers (including children over the age of 5), regardless of the epidemiological situation existent in the country of departure.
– If the traveler has completed his/her vaccination (i.e., 14 days have elapsed since the last vaccination, depending on the doses required) and holds a vaccination certificate, then proof of a negative test is not required.
– Vaccination certificates for the vaccines Sputnik, Sinovac, etc., not approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also exempt visitors from the obligation of producing a negative PCR test.
– Every traveler who arrives in Greece, regardless of the certificate in their possession, may undergo a random health screening. If selected,the screening is mandatory. Otherwise,authorities reserve the right to refuse entry into the country. The selection is made through a targeted sampling system, based on the EVA system used in the summer of 2020.
– Important clarification: The entry of travelers in Greece is not subject to vaccination. Presenting a vaccination certificate greatly facilitates the formalities upon arrival. However, in no case is a vaccination or antibodies certificate considered a “passport”.
– The countries from which entry is allowed, under the aforementioned conditions, without the requirement for subsequentself-isolation are: EU + New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, USA, UK, Israel, Serbia and UAE.
– Travelers are allowed to enter the country:
• through 9 airports (Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Corfu, Rhodes, Kos, Chania, Mykonos, Santorini)
• from the land borders of the country through the land entry gates of Promachonas and Nymphaio.
– As of the 23rd of April, blue cruising – i.e., cruising with no intermediate stops in ports – and yachting will be allowed with some restrictions, which will be the samefor both Greek and foreign citizens.
OBLIGATIONS FOR EVERY VISITOR IN GREECE
– Every traveler must fill out the special PLF (Passenger Location Form) no later than 23:59 of the day before arriving in Greece.
The traveler must ensure prior to departure that he/shecarries some kind of certification of their health condition. The alternatives for that are as follows:
– PCR negative test result from a laboratory, for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure
– Vaccination certificate from a certified authority.
All certificates must include the critical information in English and the person’s full name must match with the name listedon the passport or other travel document.
For travelers arriving in Greece, the following are provided:
– Sampling RAPID antigen tests at the entrance gates for selected individuals drawn from a targeted sampling system, based on the EVA system used in the summer of 2020.
– Mandatory isolation for tourists who have tested positive for SARS-Cov-2, following a sampling test. In this case, the travelers and their escorts are accommodated to quarantine hotels, where they will undergo further PCR testing to confirm the initial diagnosis.
– Guests will stay in seclusion hotels for at least 10 days, and they will undergo new tests again. The expenses of the accommodation in quarantine hotels are covered by the Greek state.
Compliance with the health protocols during tourist transport and throughout your entire stay in Greece is the key factor that will allow for all of us to stay safe and return to normalcy.
Weappreciate your understanding and apologize in advance for any additional inconvenience.
We extend a warm thank you for the cooperation, and for choosing our country for your vacation destination.
We look forward to welcoming you to Greece.