Ahead of its general reopening to international visitors on May 15, Greece has reorganized how its beaches will operate. It will also be throwing open the doors of its museums, open-air cinemas and theaters later this month.
Beaches with organised tourism activities have introduced new rules as part of the country’s social distancing measures. Beach umbrellas and sun loungers have to be placed at least four metres (13 feet) apart and must be regularly disinfected. Beach bar employees and other resort staff are required to wear masks and have to undergo COVID-19 testing. The playing of music at beach bars is prohibited to prevent patrons raising their voices to be heard, which can facilitate more particles being spread into the air. The music ban also applies to restaurants, bars and cafés, which have already reopened.
The measures come shortly after Greece dropped quarantine requirements for visitors from more than 30 nations, including the US and UK, provided they have tested negative for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before travel, or can prove they’ve been fully vaccinated against the disease. However, Greece was not on the UK’s recently announced “green list” for quarantine-free travel, and remains at ‘amber’, meaning English travelers must quarantine on return.
Welcoming visitors back is important to the country, as its tourism sector accounts for about a fifth of Greece’s economy. It has a population of 11 million, and Germany is its biggest market for visitors followed by the UK. Travelers should note that they must follow local public health guidelines even if they have tested negative or have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Greece is a great destination for foodies as it was named Best Food Destination in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021. It has been promoting locally-sourced ingredients for centuries thanks to its age-old habit of growing vegetables, harvesting olives for oil and utilizing every type of produce imaginable. Over the last decade, it has increased organic food production by 51%. And today, organic markets and island seafood make it an unintentional leader of the world’s most sustainable food.