Here are the current lockdown measures in Greece for May 2021. This article presents the main COVID-related restrictions in Greece.
Lockdown Measures Greece May 2021
This article will no longer be updated. If you are travelling in Greece from 22 November 2021 onward, please refer to these two articles:
Greece was in a strict lockdown since November 2020 to May 2021. Movement was restricted, and many shops, businesses and services were closed for months.
Many of the lockdown measures in Greece for May 2021 had been carried over from March 2021. With tourism officially reopening 0n 14th May 2021, they were gradually lifted.
Hi, I’m Vanessa from Athens! I’ve been following the lockdown measures in Greece since Day 1. In this article, I’ve summarized the new measures in Greece for May 2021. I’m hoping to help anyone living or currently travelling to Greece, especially non Greek speakers. This article will no longer be updated – you can go here for all latest measures.
May 2021 Lockdown Restrictions in Greece
Here is a summary of all current lockdown restrictions in Greece:
- There is currently a curfew from 23.00 – 05.00 all around Greece.
- In order to move around, everyone needs to use a movement permit (send an sms from a Greek phone number, or fill in a paper form). If you are moving around for work-related reasons, you will need a special form by your employer. You can find more information in the official FORMA website.
- The use of masks is mandatory everywhere for anyone over 4 years old. The only exceptions are private cars (for members of the same family / people living together / first-second degree relatives), workplaces when only one person is present, and exercising.
- Social distancing (1.5 metres) is mandatory
- Up to three people total (driver + two passengers) are allowed in private vehicles and taxis. There are exceptions for families with children, for people in need of medical assistance, and for teachers and students in rural areas.
- Recreational fishing is allowed, either from the coast or from a boat of up to 8 metres, using code 6.
- Sailing a private boat is only allowed for fishing (boat up to 8 metres), training for athletes, or recreation within the same region. Boats cannot sail between different areas of Greece.
- “Red” and “Deep red” zones still exist. In practice, there are few differences regarding measures at the moment. They mostly concern workplace rules, court operation and churches. In addition, in “red” zones a few more businesses are open, including beauty salons, dietitians and shopping malls. You can see a list of the “deep red” zones at the end of the article.
What is Open in Greece May 2021 – Businesses and Services
Here are the businesses that currently operate in Greece in May 2021:
- Tavernas, restaurants, cafes (closing time 22.45)
- Supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, other grocery stores, kiosks
- Street markets, including the Varvakios market in Athens
- Retail stores, shopping malls, outlets
- Hair salons, nail salons, beauty salons, by appointment only
- Most OPAP (lottery) stores
- Zoos, natural reserves
- Open archaeological sites, for groups of up to three people or families
- Hospitals, doctors, health services, pharmacies
- KTEO (Vehicle technical control services), by appointment only
- Gas stations, car garages, repairs
- Banks, post offices, courts
- Cleaners (e.g. carpet cleaners)
- Pet shops, veterinarians
- Opticians, stores selling hearing aids
- Mobile telephony businesses (selected services only)
- Special schools
- The three last classes of high schools (λύκεια), with mandatory self-testing for students, teachers and other employees
- All other schools (kindergartens, primary schools, high schools – γυμνάσια), with online learning.
- Universities, with online learning
- Driving schools
Roadmap to activities reopening in Greece for May 2021
Here is a summary of businesses and services that will reopen within the next few weeks in May:
- Saturday 8 May: Organized beaches (those with sunbeds and umbrellas for hire)
- Monday 10th May: Νηπιαγωγεία, primary / secondary schools and γυμνάσια
- Monday 10th May: Administrative and other courts
- Monday 10th May: Private schools (φροντιστήρια) preparing students for final exams (Πανελλαδικές / certain language exams)
- Friday 14th May: Museums
- Monday 17 May: Nursery schools (βρεφονηπιακοί σταθμοί), IEK / college labs and similar courses and music schools (ωδεία)
- Friday 21 May: Outdoors cinemas
- Friday 28 May: Open theatres and open-air concert venues, only for seated viewers.
The following shops and services remain closed for now: Bars / nightclubs, indoors theatres, indoors cinemas, gyms and similar activities.
Greece COVID measures 2021 – Movement in our Regional Unit
In order to go out for exercise or walk a pet, we need to use Code 6, and up to three people are allowed. The same measures apply when visiting archaeological sites / zoos / natural reserves or going fishing – again, we will need to use Code 6.
For more information on exercising, you can check out this official website (in Greek).
COVID restrictions Greece – Shopping in May 2021
As mentioned earlier, movement is only allowed with a movement permit. These are the codes that you need to use in your sms / paper form for shopping and services.
- Code 2 – Shopping for essential goods (e.g. supermarket), also hair salons / nail salons (by appointment)
- Code 3 – Public services and banks
- For retail shopping, we need to send an sms to code 13032.
Code 13032 – Code for Retail Shopping in Greece May 2021
Shopping at retail stores is possible anywhere within our Regional Unit. For people living in Athens and the suburbs, this applies to the whole of Attica, apart from the Saronic islands. Shopping is by appointment only, either “click-inside” or “click-away”. In practice, the appointment can be made right outside the store, though some stores might not have immediate availability.
To go shopping in retail stores, we need to send an sms with our name and surname, to a 5-digit number, 13032. We can only use this code once per day, and shopping time is limited to 3 hours. There is no paper form for retail shopping. If you don’t have a Greek SIM card, stores will need to send you an email.
Shopping in Greece: “Click-inside” vs “click-away”
Here is the difference between “click-inside” and “click-away”. Either way, you will need to make an advance appointment with the store. In addition, the store will will need to send you an appointment confirmation by e-mail / sms.
- “Click-inside”: Customers can go inside the store and have a look around. They can pay for their purchases by card or cash.
- “Click-away”: Customers will pre-order their purchases before they visit. They will then pay at the store entrance, using a card (no cash).
And what about travelling around Greece?
Travelling between Regional Units in Greece for non-essential reasons is not allowed until 14th May, 6 am. This includes travelling by airplane, ferry, train, bus, private car etc. and applies for Greeks and tourists alike.
There are only a few exceptions (essential reasons) why people can travel to another Regional Unit:
- business-related reasons
- reasons related to health (public hospitals only, upon proof)
- returning to someone’s primary area of residence (you would need to show official proof of your permanent address, which you can obtain through the Greek Taxis system)
- family reunion (includes divorced families)
- funeral, upon proof.
Finally, here is some important information about international travel to and from Greece.
Restaurants and cafes in Greece reopened on 3rd May
After almost 6 months of being closed, restaurants and cafes reopened on Monday 3 May! Yay! Here’s what to eat in Greece. Cafes / restaurants operate as follows:
- Customers are only able to sit in outdoors areas
- Only seated customers are allowed
- Customers need to wear a mask during waiting time (before being seated)
- Up to 6 people per table
- As the curfew is from 23.00 to 5.00, restaurants can close at 22.45 at the latest
- There will be the usual social distancing and disinfecting measures
- Cafes and restaurants will operate without music.
We can go to any cafe / restaurant in our Regional Unit, using code 6.
Two levels of Lockdown Restrictions Greece 2021
Greece is currently divided in two zones, “red” and “deep red”. Depending on the zone, the lockdown restrictions may be different. This is the latest version of the map:
- A: deep red (very increased danger) – including Athens and the rest of Attica, Thessaloniki, some of Crete etc
- B: red (increased danger) – the remaining areas of the country.
Map taken from the official website on 17 April
“Deep red” Zones Greece May 2021 – Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete and others
Greece is divided into Regional Units (RU) (Περιφερειακές Ενότητες), each of which has several Municipalities. In most cases, Regional Units are equivalent to “Nomos” (Νομός). The following areas are currently “deep red” zones, where the number of COVID cases is higher.
The whole Region of Attica, apart from Agistri, Hydra, Spetses and Kithira
- RUs of Thessaloniki, Kozani, Kilkis, Kavala
- Several areas in the RU of Serres
- Municipality of Kastoria in the RU of Kastoria
- Municipality of Skydra in the RU of Pella
- Certain areas in the RUs of Rodopi, Xanthi and Evros
- Municipality of Volos in the RU of Magnisia
- RUs of Viotia and Evrytania
- Municipality of Messolonghi in the RU of Etoloakarnania
- Several areas in the RU of Evia
- Several areas in the RUs of Achaia and Corinthia
- Municipality of Tripoli in the RU of Arkadia
- Several areas in the RU of Rethymno
- Municipality of Festos in the RU of Heraklion
The following Greek islands:
- RUs of Lesvos and Thassos
- Municipality of Kalymnion in the RU of Kalymnos
Sources for this article
I have collected the above information from official announcements and the following official websites:
- Official Travel website (in English) – Information related to international travel from / to Greece
- Official COVID website (in Greek) – Information on lockdown restrictions Greece (not always up-to-date…)
- General Secretariat for Sports (in Greek)
- FORMA website (in Greek and English) – Information about movement permits in Greece May 2021
- Government Gazettes – ΦΕΚ (in Greek) – The official source where all measures are published in detail. Latest ΦΕΚ no: 1872/8-5-2021.
- Video 7 May
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And, before you go, have a look at this article with useful words and phrases in Greek!