Πέμπτη, 25 Ιουνίου 2020

What It’s Really Like Traveling to Greece Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic






Flying to Greece from the United States in the Summer of 2020 during the Covid-19 era may sound like a frightening and unsettling Odyssey, much like the original trip undertaken in ancient Greece, but the breathtaking beauty of the final destination will be more than enough compensation.
Still, as Greek Reporter’s Anastasios Papapostolou discovered while flying last week from Newark’s Liberty International Airport to Athens via Switzerland, the overall traveling experience might be more tiresome or difficult than before, but if you are not in a high-risk group it may be worth it.
A mother of two from New York said her family is relocating to Greece for the near future. “Given that the situation in New York is bad and because we think it will not change much in the near future, we decided to make the move,” she tells Greek Reporter.
Another passenger, a mother of a Greek teacher in New York City who went to visit her daughter in March, and was stranded there because of travel cancellations, said “I hope to reach Greece by tomorrow, as my previous two flights were canceled.”
Most shops were shuttered at the Newark airport. “All restaurants, coffee shops and duty-free outlets are closed,” another Greek passenger, a resident of NYC, complained.
All passengers were making liberal use of hand sanitizer and were wearing masks and there was minimal contact with airport staff at the departing gate.
During the overnight flight, before they landed at Zurich International Airport, passengers were handed out a form to fill in where they were asked questions regarding their health history and whether or not they had been infected by Covid-19.



The Greek summer and its many beauties remain the same. Photo: Anastasios Papapostolou / Greek Reporter

After changing aircraft, they then began their flight to their final destination of Athens — and new forms were handed out to passengers to be filled in before they landed in the Greek capital.
Upon landing and entering the main terminal building, passengers underwent Covid-19 testing. The testing process, which takes less than twenty minutes, requires a saliva sample taken from the traveler.
The next day, when everyone hopefully receives their negative results, they are free to enjoy Greece.
The following is the most recently released list of rules for air passengers, as determined by Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Between June 15th-30th
International flights are allowed into Athens and Thessaloniki airports (however, there will be a continuation of the ban on flights from the United Kingdom and Turkey).
Arrivals to Athens Airport: If you originate from an EU + airport on the EASA affected area list or from Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Albania and North Macedonia, then you will be tested upon arrival.
An overnight stay, either at a designated hotel or at a hotel/residence of choice in Athens is then required. If the test is negative, the visitor is then free to travel to their final destination. If the test is positive, the visitor is quarantined under supervision for 14 days.
If your travel originated from all other airports, then you are only subject to random testing upon arrival.
Upon being tested, those visitors are free to travel to their final destination. If the test is positive, however, the visitor will then be quarantined under supervision for 14 days.
Arrivals to Thessaloniki Airport: All visitors will be tested upon arrival. An overnight stay either at a designated hotel or at a hotel/residence of choice in Thessaloniki is required.
July 1 and onward
International flights will be allowed into all airports in Greece.
Additional restrictions on non-essential travel from non-EU countries may be applicable, pending guidance from the European Union.

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