Holidays in Crete 2020. Corona-Measures since 11.8. (last update: August 24th 2020)
Since July Crete has opened its doors for tourists from nearly all over the world. Previously the Greek governement has set everything in motion in order to maintain Greece's low numbers of detected Corona cases and to be prepared (medically and logistically) for the awaited guests. Nevertheless, after less than 1.5 months, the sceptical fears that some Greeks expressed before the season start have become harsh reality: On 9th August (2 of them in Heraklion) the Corona curve reached its highest peak since 21th April, having counted 202 cases.
It may be the true that Greece conducted a lot more tests the last two weeks. But despite of all that, the cases steadily increased during the last 3 weeks. Also did the amount of intubated patients according to CNN (here). Overall Greece's authorities register 8819 Corona cases and 187 in Crete (24.8.). This could mean about 50-60 active cases and a relatively rapid increase of cases in Crete (145, 20.8.), even if it is difficult to name an exact number.
New and Old Measures against the Spread of the Coronavirus
In its efforts to prevent the health system from collapsing by responding rapidly to menacing changes, the Greek governement already announced new restrictive measures on 10th August. They complement and intensify the prevailing measures and may affect you as a traveller to Crete.
Nevertheless, on 20th August Greece again reached with 269 detected cases and 12'168 tests a new maximum. As a consequence of this, local lockdowns increased in the last days. After Mykonos and other resort islands of Greece (here) Crete's district of Chania is subject to more restrictive measures from 25th August till at least 1st September. Read more in the Measures concerning the Everyday Life section.
Measures Concerning the Entry to Greece
The entry to Greece is still possible by air, land and by sea. But you have to pay attention to the following new measures:
- From 17th August travellers from Sweden, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Northern Macedonia and Albania entering Greece by airplane are obliged to exhibit a negativ Coronatest, not older than 72 hours, certified in English and conducted in their homeland.
- The same applies to everyone (incl. Greek citizens) who enters Greece by land (car, by feet, camper van,...).
- From 16th August no more than 750 persons are allowed to pass the border crossing Kakavia (Albania/Greece).
It is not quite clear which border crossings to Greece are open right now. It seems though as since 7th August Kakavia, Krystallopigi, Evzoni, Nymphaio, Kypi, Ormenio and Promachonas were all traversable, but only from 7am till 11pm (here). In case of entering Greece by land you are advised to gather further informatios from the responsible authorities. Wheter you travel by air, land or sea you are still obliged to complete the Passenger Locator Form (PLF, here), 24 hours previous to your travel at the latest. After having completed the form you will reach a QR-Code by mail. Keep it within reach during your travel, be it in printed version or on your smartphone/laptop/tablet. Otherwise you will be penalized by a fine. The QR-Code determines wheter you have to undergo yourself a Corona test or not in case of entering Greece by air or sea. Note: Any test, conducted at Greece's borders or Greece's airports will result in a 24 hours requirement for strictly social distancing and selfmonitoring for symptoms (here). Greece's authorities will contact you in case of a Corona positive result.
Besides the above mentioned countries, travellers entering Greece by airplane from Bulgaria and Romania (28th July) or from Malta and the United Arab Emirates (12th August) are obliged to exhibit a negative Corona test together with the PLF. The test has to be no older than 72 hours, certified in English and conducted in their homeland.
Measures concerning the Everyday Life
The following measures are new and probably will affect your holidays in Crete:
- Bars, coffee places, restaurants, taverns have to close their doors ad Midnight. They are allowed to open at 7am. The closing hour is enforced strictly, first fines have been given to deliquent owners (10k Euro).
- The same applies to (emergency-/24h)pharmacies that are open only during the day from now on.
- Besides church consecration festivals (Panigiria) with livemusic Greece recently banned events as concerts and theater performances.
In taverns and restaurants the staff is still obliged to wear face masks. You too have to wear a mask in the supermarket and all stores, in public transports, taxis (4 persons at most, with driver), in the elevator, in hospitals and doctor's offices, and at the airport (here). Again, fines are imposed if you don't comply. The «usual» rules of social distancing (2m) and precautionary hygiene measures are valid in Greece too. This applies also to beaches. The district of Chania from 25.8 (06:00) till at least 1.9. (06:00) adds more restrictive measures to the prevailing ones (here):
- Mandatory use of masks indoor and outdoor.
- All events, such as parties, concerts, religious processions, open markets etc. are suspended.
- Prohibition of any kind of gathering of citizens over 9, be it in public or in private.
- In taverns and dining areas 4 people at most are allowed at a table; in case they are first-degree relatives up to 6 persons are allowed.
Despite of all these restrictions and measures and a dangerous virus, most of the returned tourists report on recreative and relaxing holidays. I collected the impressions of some friends before the measures from 11.8. and 25.8. though. What is still clear is that you hardly ever will be able to enjoy Rethymno's and Chania's beautiful oldtowns and all the nice places in Crete so calm and peaceful as during this summer. A lot of Crete's hotels and guesthouses are still as empty as the beaches and the sunbeds are.
What to do if you feel sick
If you feel sick in spite of all the precautions and measures, you are instructed to contact the responsible «hotel doctor» (here) and/or contact one of the following numbers, installed by the Greek Ministry of Health (source):
- 1135 (24/7 hotline; within Greece)
- (0030) 210 521 2054
- (0030) 210 521 2000
The contact information of the responsible hospitals in Crete you find here: Hospital Heraklion, Hospital Chania. In case you get tested positive to the Coronavirus or, if you had close contact to a person tested positive, you will be moved to quarantine in a «quarantine hotel» for 2 weeks. The costs are beared by the Greek State. But it is not clear till now wheter you get refunded the missed flight back to your home country.
Foto: Giorgis (να είσαι καλά πρόεδρε)
Please note! The blogger is neither an expert of Virology nor of Medical Science or Travel Law. The informations are based on researches in the internet and don't relieve from consulting offical pages like health offices or governement administrations. You find some links below.