Greece reopens doors to tourists after coronavirus but Britons still asked to stay away

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Greece announced on Monday the country will reopen to international tourists from June 15 after allowing the Greek public to head back to holiday hotspots this week. Obligations to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival will be lifted on June 1, and ferry services have resumed in a bid to rescue Greece’s ailing tourism industry. But British tourists may be asked to hold on booking the Greek getaways for a bit longer alongside other potential visitors travelling from “highly contagious” countries. 

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BBC correspondent Quentin Sommerville reported tourists from the UK, US and Russia may either have to undergo the 14-day quarantine when arriving in the country, or could be asked not to travel to Greece at all.

According to data from 2015, tourists from the UK make up for the third-largest group of visitors to the southern European nation after Macedonia and Germany.

Despite potential limitations being imposed on certain travellers, Greek Tourism minister Haris Theoharis insisted “everybody” should seek to get themselves a bit of a break to recover from the taxing pressure of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Theoharis said: “I think everyone deserves a break.

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Greece reopens doors to tourists after coronavirus but Britons still asked to stay away

Greece will reopen its doors to most tourists from June 15 (Image: GETTY)

Greece reopens doors to tourists after coronavirus but Britons still asked to stay away

Greece’s holiday hotspots reopened to local public this week (Image: GETTY)

“Irrespective of whether they come to Greece or not, they should try to find the way to refill those batteries.

“Everybody has been under stress.”

Many countries across Europe have started reopening commercial activities, and countries relying heavily on tourism have set out their plans to restart the sector after the COVID-19 outbreak brought it to a standstill.

Spain also announced tourism will resume from July 1 without the need to quarantine as the country continues to slowly ease restrictions to the local public.

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Greece reopens doors to tourists after coronavirus but Britons still asked to stay away

Greece has seen its tourism industry take a hard blow because of the pandemic (Image: GETTY)

But as Boris Johnson announced last week all travellers coming to the UK will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their arrival, British tourists could see the same limitations imposed on their holidays unless the British Government agreed to lift quarantine requirements for specific countries.

Italy confirmed last week both regional and national borders will open again from June 3 after most planes to and from the country remained grounded from March.

But following a week of intense social life across most of the country, the Italian Government threatened to halt lifting restrictions and once again stop travel between regions.

Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia told Italian newspaper La Stampa people breaching social distancing rules are “betraying the sacrifices” the population was forced to make.

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Greece reopens doors to tourists after coronavirus but Britons still asked to stay away

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a crisis in the tourism industry across the globe (Image: EXPRES.CO.UK)

Mr Boccia said: “It may be human and understandable to want to go out after two months, but we mustn’t forget that we’re still in the midst of Covid-19 and so people fuelling nightlife are betraying the sacrifices made by millions of Italians.”

Veneto Governor Luca Zaia said he is ready to “close bars, restaurants, beaches and we’ll lock ourselves back up again” as he warned against socialisation.

Attilio Fontana, the president of Lombardy, insisted Italians must “hang in there” for longer to ensure the virus is completely under control.

Mr Fontana said: “I think convincing people is more effective than repression.

“We need to make young people – and not so young people – understand that they have to hang in there for another few weeks, they need to understand that their behaviour is dangerous for them and the rest of the population.”


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