For the 50+ Traveler

Greece is preparing to open its borders to all travelers for the summer season.

Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis announced at the ITB Berlin Trade Show this week that Greece would be open for business starting May 14 to anyone who can show proof they have been vaccinated, have COVID-19 antibodies, or produce a negative test upon arrival.

“Greece is ready with a complete protocol for summer 2021,” Theocharis said, according to a report by Reuters.

In addition to the requirements for entry, Theocharis said all tourists would be subject to random testing.

Greece has had some of the tightest restrictions on travel over the past year, with lockdowns and curfews part of daily life in the country. Unless they receive special permission, residents are confined to a 1.25-mile boundary around their homes.

Curfews also keep the streets empty overnight, with hours depending on the region of the country.

Theocharis said citizens who work in the travel and hospitality industry would get priority for vaccinations before the opening of the borders. Government officials report 1 in 5 residents work in the travel industry.

The country is currently experiencing a spike in cases. On Monday, it recorded its most new cases in a single day since early December.

But Theochris said the rollout of vaccinations in Greece and around the world should make travel safe in two months, when the ban is lifted.

In anticipation of the change, cruise operator Celestyal Cruises said it would resume operations in late May. The company offers trips to the Greek Isles and East Mediterranean.

Despite the announcement, the U.S. Embassy in Athens is reminding Americans on its website that, with rare exceptions, they are not currently allowed to enter Greece.

“Greece will currently only allow EU citizens, EU residents, and residents of certain other specific countries to enter,” the website says. “The United States is not one of those countries.”

Embassy officials said Americans cannot travel to Europe and expect to enter Greece from there, either.

“A long visit in a third country will not help you get around EU restrictions,” they warn.

Greek officials have not posted anything official on their websites. Theochris’s comments at the trade show were the first indication of the coming change.

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