The COVID-19 pandemic in Greece is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The first case in Greece was confirmed on 26 February 2020. As the Greek government has imposed travel restrictions and shut down many businesses in Greece due to the coronavirus, or COVID-19. I feel it is relevant for this blog to share and update the measures that are affecting Travel and/or Family life.
Update on the Covid-19 Measures as per 8 February 2021
Here is the latest travel advice for Greece for February 2021, according to the latest official government announcements on 7 February 2021.
International travel to Greece February 2021
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, there are several restrictions and measures in place for travellers coming to Greece from abroad. Many of these restrictions have been in place since mid-2020.
Here is a summary of the current restrictions, as announced by the Civil Aviation Authority on 7 February 2021.
Passengers arriving to Greece from abroad will need to do the following:
- complete the inbound Passenger Locator Form (PLF), which can be found at the official website
- bring a negative PCR test (taken max 72 hours before arrival)
- self-isolate for 7 days. Self-isolation will need to take place at home or place of temporary residence. If travellers are staying in Greece for a shorter period, they will need to self-isolate for their whole stay in Greece.
In addition to the above, rapid tests will be administered to randomly selected travellers upon arrival.
Extra measures apply for travellers arriving from the UK, who will all have a rapid test on arrival. In addition, they will need to take a second PCR test after the end of the 7-day isolation period.
The Civil Aviation Authority has also announced the extension of current restrictions, both for international and domestic flights.
Update 23 January 2021: high schools are opening
Following the gradual ease of the lockdown restrictions, here have been a few more changes this week. The most important for families following this blog is the opening of high schools (γυμνάσια – λύκεια). They are scheduled to reopen on 1 February. Some schools in so-called “red” areas will remain closed. Universities and all other private classes (e.g. foreign language schools) will keep e-learning until further notice.
Coronavirus Measures from 18 January 2021
As per today, 18 January, the updated COVID-19 measures are as follows:
Greece will begin to gradually ease lockdown restrictions taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19). This means that as of Monday, January 18, all retail stores and shopping malls in the country will reopen, along with a number of other businesses including hair and beauty salons and vehicle inspection services. All businesses that will open as of January 18 will have the option to also operate on Sunday, January 24, in order for overcrowding to be avoided during the previous days.
Greece’s strict curfew will still be in force (non-essential movement in the country is banned from 9pm until 5am). The outside movement will continue to be allowed only for specific reasons and by sending an SMS to the five-digit mobile phone service 13033. (For movements related to shopping at retail stores and going to hairdressers and other businesses that will open, consumers must send an SMS to 13033.) Also, movement between prefectures continues to be banned.
Covid-19 per 2 January 2021
After a relatively ‘free’ holiday season, the Greek government announced a return to the strict lockdown on the morning of 2 Jaunary 2021.
The Greek government has decided to return to the previous version of the lockdown as of tomorrow Sunday 3 January and until 11 January. This means that the stores that were operating with the so-called ‘click away’- method will close again. The hairdressers and nail salons will also close. The curfew will be reinstalled from 21.00 – 5.00.
New COVID-19 measures in Greece November 2020 – January 2021
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update: 11 DECEMBER 2020
New measures have been announced regarding the holiday season. As of Sunday 13 December, the evening curfew will be from 22.00 – 5.00. Also, hairdressers and bookstores will reopen on Monday 14 December while commercial stores will remain closed. These will only operate with the click-away method.
All measures remain the same besides the self-isolation rule for people coming to Greece from abroad. Mandatory self-isolation will be 3 days, and not 10 as initially announced. Travelers need to present a completed PLF form and bring a negative PCR test (max 72 hours before arrival). This is also for children over 10 years old. Note that you can be tested on arrival.
Updated on 7 December 2020
Here are the updated COVID restrictions for Greece until 7 January 2020.
Travelling between Regional Units in the country is not allowed, with few exceptions relating to essential travel. Travelling within a Regional Unit should only be limited to essential movement. If you had planned a holiday in Greece for December 2020 – January 2021, it will be affected.
Further, schools, restaurants, bars, other entertainment venues, courts, gyms and ski resorts will remain closed. The SMS – mandatory paper forms and the curfew from 21.00-5.00 will remain in place.
Anyone travelling to Greece from abroad from Friday 18 December 2020 – Thursday 7 January 2021 will need to – complete the PLF form – bring a negative PCR test (max 72 hours before arrival)- be tested on arrival- AND self-quarantine for 10 days.
Greek COVID measures for November
It was announced on 26 November that the measures are extended from 30 November until 7 December. Below you can find the guidelines for tourists.
Greece Coronavirus: Guidelines for Tourists November 2020 (extended until 7 December)
Here are the latest announced guidelines for visitors that are arriving, leaving or already staying in Greece during the national lockdown of November 2020. The government has announced that the lockdown will end on November 30. According to an announcement on the ministry’s website:
For visitors LEAVING Greece
During November 7-30, foreign tourists that are already in Greece and have to depart for their country, must have their booking/airline ticket handy when traveling towards the airport (by public transport, taxi or private car) in case a check is made by authorities.
For visitors IN Greece
Outside movement of tourists staying in Greece until November 30 is allowed only for essential reasons that apply to all residents in the country. Movement outdoors is allowed by sending an SMS to the five-digit mobile phone service 13033 or using the paper form.
The ministry advises tourists to avoid unnecessary movement outside their accommodation (hotel, resort or apartment) except for essential reasons.
“In this case the hotel should inform them of essential movement reasons and of the documents or sms required,” the ministry says.
For visitors ARRIVING in Greece
Visitors, who are scheduled to arrive in Greece by November 30, must show their reservation for accommodation to authorities upon request, during their movement to their places of stay (hotel, resort or apartment).
Useful information: Greece coronavirus
- Wearing a mask is mandatory everywhere in public (indoors and outdoors).
- A night curfew is in force in Greece from 9 pm to 5 am. During this curfew, movement (with identification) in Greece will be allowed by sending an SMS to the five-digit mobile phone service 13033 and only for the reasons relating to health (SMS – Option 1), walking a pet close to residence (SMS – Option 6) and work (with the required employer certificate, no SMS is needed).
- Visitors in Greece should know that travel between prefectures (domestic travel) is allowed only for returning to permanent residence (proof will be required), family reunification, business reasons and health reasons.
- A number of businesses in Greece, including retail stores, bars, cafés and restaurants will remain closed during lockdown. Takeaway services are available.
The penalty for violating movement restrictions can reach up to 300 euros.
Protocol for Arrivals in and Departures from Greece during coronavirus time
Beginning July 1, 2020, the Greek government has determined how the country will welcome travelers, carry out the necessary diagnostic screening and keep everyone safe throughout the season.
The Passenger Locator Form (PLF) is a key element in the planning. All travelers must complete their PLF until the day before entering the country, providing detailed information on their point of departure, the duration of previous stays in other countries, and the address of their stay while in Greece. In case of multiple stays, they are required to provide the address for the first 24 hours at least. One PLF should be submitted per family.
- Travelers will receive a confirmation email upon submission of the PLF.
- Travelers will receive the PLF with their unique Quick Response (QR) code on the day of their scheduled arrival in Greece (at midnight) and will be notified via email (the QR code will be provided in a link in the confirmation email).
- Travelers boarding or embarking on the previous day of the arrival will be allowed to do so upon showing the confirmation email, since they will receive their QR code during their flight or voyage.
The PLF can also be found on the Visit Greece app and at travel.gov.gr.
It is strongly recommended that all visitors download the Visit Greece app (GDPR compliant) for free, prior their arrival in Greece.
Greek authorities have announced the closure of elementary schools across the country as of Monday, November 16, in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The operation of primary education units will be suspended for two weeks throughout the country. Kindergartens and elementary schools will remain closed as in the case of secondary and high schools, until November 27. Special education schools will remain open. Measures are currently being implemented for online education in both private and public schools. Pupils will continue lessons via tele-education as in the case of middle and high schools that are closed since November 7. Participation in lessons will be mandatory for pupils and teachers.
Covid-19 Government Measures Updates
We are updating this post whenever new measures are being put in place. For direct official travel information, please check the official website of the Greek government at https://travel.gov.gr/ or follow our Facebook Page. You can read about our family travel experiences in Greece during the coronavirus in 2020 in Travel in Greece with Kids during Corona.
With all that said, here are some ideas for future travel to Athens!