Greece Considers Opening to Travel & Tourism from United States
It is expected that at the end of July, that Greece will consider allowing travellers from the United States to enter Greece, according to the government’s spokesman, Stelios Petsas.
Greece to Open Borders to US Travellers
When talking about the lifting of Greece’s ban on direct flights from the United Kingdom on July 15 and from Sweden as of July 22, Petsas said the easing of travel restrictions will also be considered for other countries.
During his daily press briefing, Petsas noted that “Depending on the development of epidemiological data, we will consider opening to other countries, such as the United States, from the end of July,” he said on Monday 13th July during his media briefing.
The government’s spokesman added that in such a case, travellers from the US will be obliged to present a negative molecular test result (PCR) for coronavirus (Covid-19) upon arrival. (The test must be performed up to 72 hours before travellers enter Greece from the US.)
The announcement followed a meeting of government officials, chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on Monday morning.
Given the rise of “imported” Covid-19 positive cases into Greece, Petsas said additional safety measures would be taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
Referring to the data that two-thirds of positive tests on some days (where a high day is 60 positives) were found at the border of Bulgaria/Greece.
According to the government’s spokesman, authorities are to increase targeted checks at the country’s entry points, especially at the Greek-Bulgarian border Promachonas, a village in Greece.
From July 1 to 11, 67,797 Covid-19 tests were performed at Greece’s entry points, of which 218 were positive (0.35 percent). However, the majority of positive Covid-19 cases were from travellers tested at Promachonas.
Petsas issued a reminder that from 15th July, checks at Promachonas will be thorough and travellers are only to be allowed into Greece if they have a negative molecular test result (PCR) for Covid-19.
“In the event of a forged test result, penalties will be imposed,” the government’s spokesman underlined.
He added that checks will also be strengthened at the entry points from Albania with targeted tests were performed at Kakavia and Krystallopigi, border towns with Albania.
US Response to Greece Opening Borders to the US
The US Embassy in Greece has listed on its website about the current travel restrictions in Greece that they are aware of media reports that U.S. citizens might be permitted to enter Greece beginning July 31 with a negative COVID-19 test but cannot confirm or answer any questions as the Greek government has not made an official announcement.
They have confirmed that as per the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C., U.S. citizens residing in the United States are banned from entering Greece for non-essential travel, which includes tourism, unless you have an EU passport or meet one of the narrow exceptions.
As now, there is no projected date when entry will be permitted.
The embassy is still warning that you may not travel from the United States to a country on the EU Council’s list to get around the travel restrictions. But as we are all aware, it is possible to avoid the Europe travel ban.
The US embassy nonetheless goes on to state; If you do not have a permanent residence (e.g., nomadic lifestyle, live on a boat, etc.), you must contact the closest Greek Embassy or consulate for guidance.
Greece Already Flouts Europe Travel Ban
Greek authorities are hoping to salvage the season and limit some of the losses incurred by the tourism industry while maintaining the positive momentum achieved by the successful management of the first wave of the novel virus.
It does seem that Greece will be pushing for entry of travellers from the US as it poses a great hit to the travel and tourism market for Greece. Additionally, it is not the first time that Greece is contrary to the EU during the pandemic regarding the Europe travel ban.
The Greek authorities have already been flouting the Europe travel ban. For example Qatar is one of the countries not permitted to travel to Europe. However, Greece has been allowing people to enter Greece from Qatar, throughout the time that Europe had external borders closed.
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