Greece Coronavirus Update: Measures against the COVID-19

Last updated on March 29th, 2020 at 01:44 pm

The Greek government has shut down most businesses in Greece due to the coronavirus, or COVID-19. As of 16 March, more and more travel restrictions are being put in place. Read on to find out more.

We are updating this post whenever new measures are being put in place. Feel free to check back, and please please please share it with anyone who is interested in Coronavirus news in Greece. Also, follow our FB page for instant news.  

29 March 2020 – It is quite certain that the quarantine will go on for much longer

A couple more changes have been announced in the past few days. It is expected that the quarantine will go on for much of April. With spring around the corner, this will be a challenge…

Spring in Athens Greece

Flights to and from the Netherlands and Germany have also been suspended.

It has also been announced that shops and churches will remain closed until at least 11 April.

On the positive side, certain public services such as issuing doctor prescriptions are now available online. It looks like the coronavirus has sped up some processes… This is just one example.

Finally, the limit for contactless payments without the use of a PIN number has now been raised to 50 euro. This is to minimize physical contact as much as possible and it will remain in place until the end of May.

25 March 2020 – Greece Independence Day

Today it was Greece’s Independence Day. This is normally celebrated with massive parades all over Greece. Obviously, today there were none! Still, you can look at what the Changing of the Guards here in Athens looks like.

Evzones in Athens - Changing of the Guards

It has been announced that supermarkets will be open Monday – Friday 7:00-21:00, Saturday 7:00-20:00, and closed on Sundays.

Pharmacies will be open according to the area. The pharmacies in Athens, Thessaloniki and Achaia / Patra area will be open from 9:00-17:00. Full news here (in Greek).

23 March 2020 – No more flights to and from the UK / Turkey, Aegean suspends all international flights

Also, Aegean / Olympic airlines have announced the suspension of all their international flights from 26 March to 30 April. Domestic routes will also be limited.

A small number of Aegean flights from Athens to Brussels will still run. This is in order to maintain the country’s connectivity with the EU’s administrative center.

Furthermore, as of midnight tonight, there will be no more flights from Greece to and from the UK or Turkey.

Forms to be completed when going out from 23 March to 6 April

From 6 am Monday 23 March until 6 am Monday 6 April, all residents will be required to fill in a form whenever they are going somewhere. Those who are going out for reasons that are not work, can also send an sms.

There are two different forms, which you can find at forma.gov.gr. The first form (form A) concerns employees, and they must fill in the form (no sms option for this). The second form (form B) concerns all other movement.

Note that, in case of moving around by car, a maximum of 2 adults are allowed in the car. It is also ok for one adult to drive with two underage children. As for taxis, there can only be one passenger. Exceptions can be made if there is a patient who needs someone to help them.

All information is available on the forma website. We hope there will be an official translation soon. In the meantime, this may help.

EDIT – THE OFFICIAL FORMS HAVE NOW BEEN UPLOADED IN ENGLISH

Employed people / people who are going out for work purposes should fill in this form

If you are going out for work purposes, go to this section Πάγια βεβαίωση κίνησης (Τύπου Α) and download the PDF document.

Complete this form if you are an employee

Complete as follows:

  • First row – Name, surname
  • Second row – Father’s name
  • Third row – Name of company
  • Fourth row – ID number / passport number
  • Fifth row – Your region

If you are working in the same office every day, check the first box [   ] ίδια εταιρεία / φορέα

If you are moving around offices, check the second box [   ] άλλη εταιρεία / φορέα and complete the next three rows as follows:

  • First row – Name  of company
  • Second row – Name of manager / other responsible person
  • Third row – Manager’s telephone no

Finally, you should complete your office hours here. The first row indicates am times, the second row indicates pm times. If you are working from 9 am to 5 pm, complete the first blank with 9 and the fourth blank with 5.

Hours of work

This will need to be stamped by your employer. Sign the form under the word Υπογραφή. You’re done…

People going out for reasons other than work, should fill in this form

If you are going out for non-work reasons, you have the option to either fill in the official form, handwrite it yourself, or send an sms.

You can download the official form at Βεβαίωση Κατ’ Εξαίρεση Μετακίνησης Πολιτών (PDF) 

Complete this form for any other errand

Complete it as follows:

  • First row – Your name and surname
  • Second row – Date of birth
  • Third row – Your address
  • Fourth row – Time of moving

Then tick one of the boxes below, as follows

  1. Pharmacy or doctor’s appointment, if this is necessary
  2. Shopping for goods, where delivery isn’t possible {really this is for supermarkets and other food shops, also fuel shops}
  3. Going to the bank, if e-banking is not possible
  4. Going to help other people in need
  5. Going to a funeral, wedding, christening / Movement of divorced or separated parents that is necessary for parent-children communication
  6. Exercising or walking a pet, including 1 or max 2 people together, who will have a space of 1.5 metres between them

Then complete the next three rows as follow

  • First row – City
  • Second row – Date
  • Third row – Name

Don’t forget to sign on the right, under the word Υπογραφή

What if I don’t have a printer?

If you don’t have a printer, or if you can’t read or write Greek, you can also write on a piece of paper the following

  • Name and surname
  • Address
  • Reason for going out (with the choices above)
  • Address of place you are going to
  • Date and time of day
  • Signature

Yep, good old-fashioned hand-writing will do the trick…

You can also send a FREE sms text

Another way you can do it, is by sending a FREE sms to 13033. The message should have the following format

X [space] Name [space] Surname [space] Address

X will be a number from 1 to 6, with the choices above.

You should then get a message back, that you need to keep on your phone and show it, if asked for it, along with your ID.

This is probably the easiest one…

Sunday 22 March 18:00 – Greece going into lockdown

Unfortunately, this time the rumours were true. Stricter rules will be in place as of 6 am on Monday 23 March, as just announced by the prime minister.

People can go out for the following reasons
– Going to and from work
– Going to buy food or medication
– Visiting a doctor or a person who needs assistance
– Exercising, one or two people
– Walking with a pet

People who are currently in urban areas are allowed to head to their permanent residence.

In any case, everyone should have their ID / passport on them. People who don’t comply with the new regulations will be facing a 150 euro fine.

There can be no more than 2 people per vehicle.

The reason for moving around has to be stated on either a document provided by the employer, or a personal declaration. More information and details will be announced at 7 pm tonight.

Saturday 21 March – A few more changes announced

It has been announced that schools, universities and other educational institutions will remain closed until Friday 10 April.

Furthermore, the train company has announced that there will be fewer routes from Athens to Thessaloniki and vice versa. Other routes will be modified as well. The trains that will be running on the Athens – Thessaloniki route are 52, 56, 58 and 53, 57, 59.

More changes announced for markets, supermarkets and parks – Friday 20 March 19:00

More changes have been announced…

Street markets will remain closed on Saturday 21 March. From Monday 23 March onwards, they will operate with fewer stalls.

As of Monday, supermarkets will only allow one person per 15 square metres.

Pedion tou Areos, Finopoulou Alsos and Attikon Alsos will remain closed. So will entrances to Imittos mountain.

It is still ok to go for a walk / run on our own or with one more person.

Watch full video (in Greek) here

Ferries to the islands will only carry permanent residents – Friday 20 March 16:30

It has been officially announced that ferries will only carry people who live permanently on the islands, as well as supply trucks. Visitors and tourists will not be allowed to board. To get a ticket you will be required to show proof from Taxisnet (the Greek tax system).

Ferries in Greece will only carry permanent residents

The new measure will come into effect as of tomorrow Saturday 21 March, 06:00. Visitors can still leave the islands.

Flights from / to Greece will not be stopped for now – Thursday 19 March 22:30

Despite rumours of flights from and to Greece being stopped, there has been no official announcement. There are a few exceptions like Italy and Spain.

Earlier in the day, there were relevant reports, but so far nothing has changed. Still, the government has clearly stated that news can change by the minute, so watch this space.

We will update this post if there are more news.

All flights to and from Greece to be cancelled

 

All hotels in Greece to close down – Thursday 19 March 16:00

It has just been announced that hotels everywhere in Greece will shut down until the 30th April. This includes hotels that operate 12 months per year. This will go into effect as of midnight Sunday 22 March.

One hotel per capital of regional unit will remain open, with three hotels remaining open for Athens and Thessaloniki.

Online supermarkets in Greece

Given the situation, we’ve put together a list of supermarkets where you can shop online if you need to. Unfortunately, not all of them have an option in English. Also, many of them are fully booked for several days – but it doesn’t hurt to try.

If you are looking for delivery stores, we can recommend E-Food and Wolt. You can find many restaurants of all types, from souvlaki to gourmet food. Some menus are in English.

Greece Coronavirus update – Wednesday 18 March 19:00

Following rumours flying around since earlier today, the following official announcement has been made.

Meetings of over 10 people will be banned as of tomorrow, Thursday 19 March. People who don’t respect this will be facing a 1,000 euro fine per person.

It is strictly recommended to stay at home [the Greek words used were “αυστηρή σύσταση”]. Exceptions are work, food shopping, pharmacies, doctors, post office, banks, fuel, giving help to others. This is our Source for now, and we will update it with the official Gazette (ΦΕΚ) when it comes out.

Enjoying the sun on the balcony!

Enjoying the sun on the balcony

Coronavirus update Greece – Tuesday 17 March 19:30

It has been announced that non EU-nationals will not be allowed into the country unless there is a very important work or family reason. People in transit will be allowed to enter.

This is going into effect from 06:00 on Wednesday 18 March until 06:00 on Saturday 18 April. Full article here. You can download the official statement (in Greek) at ΦΕΚ/916/Β/17-3-2020.

Our suggestion is the following –

Travel to Greece

Coronavirus in Greece – Update Tuesday 17 March 10:00

After long discussions, the government has decided last night that religious masses will no longer happen in any places of worship all around the country. The churches will remain open for individual prayer. The measure is in effect until 30 March 2020.

Inside a Greek orthodox church

For anyone who knows the extent to which the Greek Orthodox religion is tied to Greek culture, this is extraordinary! [In our view, it was the right decision to make, especially with Greek Easter around the corner].

If you can read Greek, you can download the official statement – ΦΕΚ 872/Β/16-3-2020

Greece Coronavirus update – Shops operating as of 18 March 2020

More shops will be closed as of Wednesday 18 March. The below list will be updated with all relevant clarifications if new measures are passed.

  • Supermarkets > 7:00 to 22:00 daily and 9:00 to 17:00 Sundays
  • Bakeries, butchers, fruit and veg shops etc
  • Mini markets and kiosks
  • Street markets > for food and certain household items like toilet paper
  • Delivery restaurants
  • Pharmacies
  • Fuel stations
  • Car services
  • Banks
  • Telecommunications shops > not for retail, just for paying bills
  • Courier / Post office
  • Pet shops
  • Opticians

A well-stocked supermarket in Athens during coronavirus

You can download the official statement (in Greek) at ΦΕΚ/915/Β/17-3-2020.

The government spokesperson stressed that freedom of movement within the country is not being restricted. She also emphasized that people should not listen to rumours.

Greece Coronavirus update – People coming to Greece from abroad to go into self-isolation

Who knew that yesterday’s news is already old…

The latest government announcement is now live, if you can speak Greek you can listen to it here.

People travelling to Greece from abroad will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Non-compliant people will be fined.

Greece Coronavirus update – Monday 16 March 2020 13:00

New measures have been announced yesterday evening, in terms of supermarkets, pharmacies and other shops that are still operating.

There should be no more than one person per 10 square metre area. The suggestion given is to keep 2 metres distance from each other. Businesses are being asked to keep hand sanitizing liquid readily available for customers to use.


Latest updates on Coronavirus in Greece here: Coronavirus Greece


In our experience, the supermarkets and smaller shops in our area have already started imposing the regulations. The stores were actually less busy than normal.

Street markets are still operating, and sellers and customers are  asked to wear gloves. This is our new reality.

Coronavirus in Greece - Street market

On the positive side, we got some strawberries…

Transportation changes are expected in Athens, given that many of the employees will now be staying at home. You can stay informed on the OASA Telematics app. At the same time, fewer people are using the metro and buses already.

Coronavirus Greece update – Sunday 15th March 23.30

The train company has announced that they will be stopping certain routes. You can read more information in their official announcement (in Greek). This includes the early morning Athens-Thessaloniki-Athens route.

If you are taking the train anytime soon and you are not sure what’s happening, feel free to post below. As for refunds for pre-booked trips, I will try to find information, but if any of you find out, please post below!

News Coronavirus Greece 15:00 Sunday 15th March 2020

Greece has announced a few more Coronavirus measures, effective immediately

  • Cruise boats will not be allowed to dock at any Greek port
  • The borders with Albania and North Macedonia will remain closed for visitors. People living in Greece, or those with Greek citizenship, are still allowed to return. Transportation of goods is allowed.
  • As of today, ferries to Italy will not carry passengers. Cargo and transportation of goods is allowed.
  • There will be no flights from Greece to and from Spain, or Italy

Source – Kathimerini (Greek and English versions)

Breaking news 23:30 14th March 2020

Late on Saturday 14th March, the government has decided the closure of seasonal hotels and similar establishments.

The measure is put into immediate effect from 15 March to 30 April. Hotels that are already open will need to close by 23 March.

Source: www.et.gr  ΦΕΚ857/Β/2020

Organized beaches and ski resorts are also closed as of 15 March, as announced by the PM of Greece on his twitter account.


Latest updates on Coronavirus in Greece here: Coronavirus Greece


Coronavirus Measures in Greece – Official Document for closures

The government has published another official document on www.et.gr, concerning businesses in Greece. If you can read Greek, look for ΦΕΚ 855/2020/Β. Otherwise, here’s our unofficial translation.

***

The following institutions in Greece will remain closed from 14 March to 27 March:

1. Restaurants, catering businesses, bars, nightclubs, coffeeplaces, cafes, cafeterias, kafeneia and similar establishments. Businesses that offer delivery and take-away services are exempted. Similarly, bars, restaurants and cafes located in hotels, are allowed to serve their customers who are staying there, as long as they take measures to avoid overcrowding.

Closed restaurants in Greece during Coronavirus

2. Theatres, cinemas and similar businesses where performances are held.

3. All libraries in the country, public or private.

4. Museums, historical and archaeological sites and buildings, and similar visitor attractions.

5. Private gambling businesses (casinos, card clubs, lottery businesses). People selling lottery tickets on the street are exempted, as are online gambling websites.

6. Gyms and similar facilities. Athletes preparing for the Olympic Games are exempted.

7. Fun fairs, flea markets and commercial exhibitions. Outdoors recreational spaces and public exercise spaces will remain open.

8. Amusement arcades and any other space offering similar entairtainment.

9. Hair salons, barbers, beauty salons, and similar places, such as massage studios.

10. Tattoo and piercing studios.

11. Personal escort services.

12. Shopping malls, large outlets, shops operating with a “shop-in-a-shop” policy.

Any of these businesses are allowed to operate without the presence of public.

At all points of service, every measure will be taken so that the maximum number of people in a queue is 5.

***

If you can read Greek, you can also have a look at this document, which was published yesterday on Skai.

Greece coronavirus measures COVID-19

What do the Coronavirus measures in Greece mean in practice?

As you will see from the above, the places that have shut down could potentially host a large number of people simultaneously. The idea is to avoid any form of congregation, especially indoors.

For the time being, supermarkets, minimarkets, cornershops, kiosks, street food markets (laikes), bakeries and patisseries will remain open. This applies also for supermarkets which are located within shopping malls. The Varvakios Central market will also be open.

Banks and pharmacies will also operate. However, banks are already e-mailing their customers encouraging them to use web-banking. Pharmacies on the other hand will only allow 2 people at any given time. We have already seen people queuing outside!

The Greek government is asking everyone to stay at home, and to avoid unnecessary trips. All people, but especially those belonging to the high-risk groups, are urged to stay in and respect the newly founded measures.

At the moment of writing, 45 businesses were found open by the police, despite the measures, and were all closed down.

The prime minister has announced that further measures may be introduced. Watch this space!

Should I visit Greece with the COVID-19?

Two weeks ago, everything was absolutely fine over here. In fact, during the first days of March, I visited quite a few museums and sites!

Vanessa in front of the Parthenon on the Acropolis

As you’ve realized with the above though, our reality today is totally different. Seasonal hotels have been instructed to close down until 30 April. Whether this includes all-year-round hotels and airbnbs is unclear at this moment, but we will update the article as soon as there is a firm answer.

As a visitor, you will still have access to food, either in your hotel’s restaurant or take-away / delivery. However, you won’t be able to visit any of the tourist attractions. Furthermore, as our reality changes day by day, no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

For example, flights to and from Italy have been suspended as of today. Yesterday, a few cruise lines have cancelled their routes to Greece until the beginning of May.

Our suggestion is to postpone your trip. As you can imagine, there is no way anyone could give you accurate advice for when things are going to be any better. However, Greece will need you more than ever after this is over. Keep that in mind!

The Coronavirus in Athens – We are staying in! 

As for us, we are staying in as of today unless we absolutely must go out. Admittedly, we went for a cheeky little walk on the beach this morning – spring is on its way.

A beach close to Athens Greece

Who knows? Maybe in a few days from now we will all be locked down, like Italy or Spain. We wish all the best for our Mediterranean neighbours.

We hope that things will get back to normal (whatever normal is in our country!) as quickly as possible. At the same time, we will follow the government’s guidelines, and we will strongly encourage others to do the same. #stayhome

In the meantime, you can read some of our previous guides for Greece, to mentally prepare for your next holiday in Greece!

 

37 comments

  1. This Should give everyone time to clean up and discenfect their businesses inside and out, including taxis, taxi boats etc “if everyone pulls together and makes an effort “ it can only help reduce the spread of the C.Virus…A World wide clean up week is needed…

    1. Exactly! The most important thing is to leave this behind as soon as possible. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon, and visitors can enjoy our beautiful country!

    1. Thank you! Well we are pretty much stuck at home so we have to write something hahah! Please feel free to share the blog with anyone who is planning a trip to Greece in the future!

        1. You are right, there was one death in Zante like you say. It’s so hard to keep on top of everything. I have decided not to post specific numbers as there are official sources for this, the purpose of this article is to help out people who either live in Greece and can’t speak Greek or were planning to travel here.

    1. Hi Ann,
      Dave replying here – I was also due to go back at the beginning of April for a week. I’ve decided not to bother.

  2. Clean the estsblishments bars cafe’s parks etc clean the graffitti (some areas are like the Bronx) empyy the rubbish and tidy up a few of the deplorable areas which we all know and bring back some pride to this basically lovely country and bring the tourists back safely and in numbers.

    1. As New Zealanders here in Greece cruising on our boat, we wholeheartedly agree with this. Greece is one of the most amazing places in the world, with friendly, happy, caring people. We often wonder at the amount of rubbish everywhere and everyday we do a rubbish clean up of the beach or parkside, unbelievable how much we can collect, 2 people 1 hour, imagine if there were 10 people 1 hour, every day, the difference it would make. Lets clean up Greece, lets have pride in this beautiful country. Community effort. Those plastic take out coffee cups with a straw and plastic dome lid need to be banned, water bottles, don’t need water in a bottle, jug on the table is far more appealing. Please please think about this. We love Greece.

      1. I had the same thought when I travelled to SE Asia… and I try as much as I can to avoid single-use plastic. I also clean up the beaches!! Are you currently here?

  3. Dear friends,
    Given the general concerns about the COVID19
    we realize that some of our clients are likely to change their travel schedule hurriedly while others hesitate to book their car.
    That is why we have decided to simplify the process of these changes. So we are adjusting our cancellation policy.
    If clients wish to change the dates of their reservation, or cancel it they can do so without losing the deposit they have already paid provided that they will notify us of the change up to one day (24 hours) prior to arrival for obvious practical reasons.

    1. The latest news I can find on the islands is that there were 3 cases in Crete, out of 331 in Greece. I haven’t read anything about Rhodes or any of the other islands. I really hope there aren’t any cases there, as most of the islands have difficult access to hospitals. Hopefully in July all of this will be over!!

  4. I’m due to fly out on 24th april from uk flying into heraklion to stay with friends for 11 days , im hoping the flight will still go ahead, is heraklion airport still getting flights to & from the uk ?

    1. For the time being (16 March noon), there is no announcement for Heraklion airport, but the 24th April is so far away that it’s impossible to tell! Please keep checking!

    1. There is no official announcement or further info for when the schools will be reopening. It looks like we will have to live on a day-to-day basis…!

    1. Thanks for your message Tatiana, you should get in touch with your agent or hotel and see all available options. Hoping for the best!

  5. Thank you for all the information given found it very helpful. I live here on Rhodes and to many stories going around . So again my thanks .

    1. You are welcome. We are being very careful as to what we report, which is why we are always giving official sources, however it’s impossible to be on top of everything.

  6. I’m due to fly out on 12th april from uk flying into Athens for 5 night’s im hoping the flight will still go ahead, is Athens airport still getting flights to & from the uk ?

    1. For the time being yet, but a 14-day quarantine has just been announced (16 March 15.00). Not sure when it will come into effect as it wasn’t announced on the press conference, but it will definitely be very soon.

    1. Yes, it was announced about an hour ago. All non-EU citizens will not be allowed into the country as of Wednesday 18 March, 06:00. Please check the updated post above.

  7. I have twin 2-year olds. Can I take them, one at a time around the block or are we only allowed to take our pets out? Obviously we will need to be less than 1.5 meters apart.

    1. You can exercise in pairs, so it’s definitely fine to have one child with you. I would assume that they would make an exception on the 1.5 metres apart, and just earlier today they announced that you can have up to two children in your car.

  8. Who are tourists and have arrived before this closure and stay close in city because not have hall back ..what doo

    1. I am not sure where you are from or where you live permanently. If you want to leave Greece, it might be best to talk to your embassy.

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