Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Officials in Greece to tighten COVID-19-related restrictions in Attica Region between Sept. 16-30 due to increased disease activity.

Alert Begins 15 Sep 2020 07:39 PM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Greece will tighten coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in the Attica Region which includes the city of Athens and the surrounding areas from Sept. 16-30. Protective face coverings will be required in all indoor public areas, crowded outdoor areas where social distancing is not possible, and workplaces. In addition, restaurants and cafes must limit table seatings to six people per table. Public gatherings remain limited to 50 people. Restaurants, nightclubs, and other entertainment venues must enforce social distancing and close from 2359-0700. This istricter measures comes after an increase in infection rates.

Previously authorities tightened restrictions in prefectures of Pella, Pieria, Imathia, and Kilkis due to increased disease activity. In these areas, public and private gatherings of more than nine people remain prohibited. All events, such as parties, trade fairs, processions, and public markets, will be suspended until further notice. Restaurants, nightclubs, and other entertainment venues must enforce social distancing and close from 2359-0700. Protective face coverings are mandatory in all indoor and outdoor public spaces.

Authorities have previously reintroduced restrictive measures in several other locations due to higher reported case numbers. Affected locations include Chalkidiki, Crete, Eastern Macedonia, Katerini, Larissa, Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Thrace, Volos, and the islands of Antiparos, Corfu, Kos, Lesbos, Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, and Zakynthos.

Outside of these areas, the government has allowed most businesses to reopen. Cruise ships are permitted to visit Greek ports. The use of protective face coverings in all public indoor areas remains mandatory. In addition, all private social gatherings are limited to no more than 100 attendees. All public gatherings are prohibited, except those with seated audiences, such as concerts and theatrical performances.

International travel restrictions
Due to a noted increase in COVID-19 infection rates, authorities previously extended nationwide restrictions and travel bans on non-EU citizens. Citizens of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and the United Arab Emirates are exempt from the travel ban, as are freight transporters, diplomats, students enrolled at Greek universities, seasonal workers, healthcare workers, and passengers in transit. Authorities have indefinitely suspended flights to and from Barcelona, Spain, since Aug. 31.

All travelers arriving from Belgium, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta, Sweden, Spain, Albania, North Macedonia, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates must present a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. Officials periodically reassess the measures and countries exempted from the ban.

Travelers permitted to enter Greece are not automatically required to undertake a mandatory quarantine period; however, they may be required to complete a detailed declaration providing their contact details, country of origin, and travel history over the previous 15 days. Authorities conduct targeted COVID-19 testing of arriving travelers based on information provided in the declarations. Anyone testing positive for the virus could be required to quarantine for 14 days in government-provided accommodations.

Any restrictions could be reimposed, extended, further eased, or otherwise amended at short notice, depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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