Topline

Greece will reportedly permit visitors from the United States to enter for the first time in more than a year starting next week, a month earlier than the previously announced date of May 14, when the country said it would reopen to international tourists who provide a negative coronavirus test or proof of vaccination.

Key Facts

Greece is taking early “baby steps” toward a full reopening by allowing tourists from the U.S., the U.K., Serbia, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the European Union into the country starting Monday, tourism ministry officials told The Guardian and Reuters on Wednesday.

If citizens of those countries can produce a negative PCR test less than three days old or proof of vaccination, they will be allowed in and permitted to skip the mandatory weeklong quarantine in place, officials said.

The tourists will reportedly be permitted to fly into Greece through airports in nine of the country’s most popular holiday destinations; Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania, Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu, according to Reuters.

However, travelers would still have to follow the country’s coronavirus restrictions while they’re in Greece—bars and restaurants remain closed for dining in and a nationwide curfew is still in place, though many of the country’s famous archeological sites, like Athens’ Acropolis, have reopened.

Under current guidelines, U.S. citizens are barred from entering Greece at all, except in cases of “extreme emergencies,” according to the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C., while citizens of some countries are allowed in if they self-isolate for a week after arrival.

Tourism makes up a whopping 20% of the economy, making reviving the industry critical for the country.

Key Background

Greece has not permitted Americans to visit since March last year, when Greece went under a lockdown at the onset of the pandemic. While travelers from nearly 30 countries were allowed back in just three months later in July, the government excluded Americans based on the high rate of coronavirus infection in the U.S. The Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C., had no comment about the reported early opening.

Further Reading

Greece to ditch quarantine for tourists who are vaccinated or test negative (The Guardian)

Greece to lift quarantine rule for more travelers from next week: official (Reuters)

Greece Will Welcome Tourists Back, But Not Americans (Forbes)

Summer Comeback? Greece Wants Tourists Back From July (Forbes)