Greece ‘confident’ of being on green travel list says expert

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Greece has introduced new social distancing measures for some of its most popular tourist beaches as hopes mount more tourists will be set for return throughout the summer months. Though the nation is currently on the UK “amber list”, there is some speculation Greece or its archipelagos could be given “green” status soon.

In a bid to enhance safety for those visiting its sunny shores, local authorities have instated specific rules for beach umbrellas and sun loungers, as well as for beach bars.

Beach umbrellas and sun loungers must be placed at least four metres (13 feet) apart, reports Lonely Planet.

They must also undergo regular disinfection.

Beach bar employees and any staff working at resorts must wear face masks at all times in public, and undergo COVID-19 testing before working.

There are also rules regarding how loud music can be played at beach bars, as well as cafes and restaurants.

Music must not be so loud that guests have to raise their voice – something which authorities warn can lead to more particles being spread throughout the air.

Alongside social distancing measures on beaches, Greece is also implementing strict mask rules throughout the country.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) explains on its travel advice page: “At present, it is mandatory to wear a mask in all public places both indoors and outdoors, in all areas of Greece.”

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For those travelling to Greece, it adds: “You must wear a face mask at all times when on an aeroplane, bus, train or ferry travelling to or from Greece; and whilst at airports.”

The latest beach rules come as Greece tries to encourage more tourism traffic to visit.

Greece previously dropped its travel ban for Britons, accepting those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who can provide a negative test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Despite these efforts, however, the nation and its surrounding islands remain on the UK’s “amber list”.

This means, for now, travellers returning from Greece to the UK must quarantine for 10 days on their return, and take COVID-19 tests on three separate occasions throughout.

The FCDO continues to advise “against all but essential travel to Greece, except for the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

The omission of the Greek islands from this warning has lead to some speculation that the holiday hotspots could soon be placed on the “green list”.

However, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps told Sky News the islands would need to meet specific criteria before they could be added.

He explained: “We have always said in the past we have tried to assess islands separately.

“Whether that is possible or not isn’t just down to the level of infection on those islands, it’s also down to their ability to sequence the genomes that we know about, the variants or potential variants of concern on those islands as well.”

Mr Shapps added: “Not to disappoint you but the next review is the first week in June, so not very far away, and I’m afraid we will have to wait until then.”

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