COVID measures in Greece January 2021

New COVID measures in Greece have been announced in January 2021. This article lists all measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Greece in 2021.

Updated COVID restrictions Greece until 18 January 2021 {Updated 8 January 2021}

Like the rest of the world, Greece COVID measures have been constantly changing in the last few months. The whole of Greece is currently into an almost complete lockdown which is currently scheduled to last until the 18th January 2021.

Travelling between Regional Units in the country is not allowed, with few exceptions relating to essential travel. Travelling within a Regional Unit should only be limited to essential movement. If you had planned a holiday in Greece for January 2021, it will be affected.

The main sources you can get information from are

I have translated the most important information from the above Greek sources and official government announcements, adding clarifications provided by officials, so that non-Greek speakers living in or travelling to Greece have all the new coronavirus information they need in one place. I am including all new updates in red.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer.

Greek COVID measures for November

The new restrictions have gone into effect as of Saturday 7 November, 6 am. The latest measures are currently scheduled to remain in place until 18 January 2021.

More detailed information is always provided in the government Gazettes (in Greek).

New coronavirus measures all around Greece

There is a 21.00 – 5.00 curfew all around Greece. The following measures will apply all around Greece until 18 January 2021:

  • There is a curfew from 21.00 – 5.00 all around the country, with some exceptions (see below, in the SMS section). There were no exceptions for Christmas and NYE days.
  • Wearing a mask is mandatory everywhere for anyone over 4 years old (fine: 300 euro). There are exceptions when driving a vehicle alone / with a spouse or cohabitant / with first and second degree relatives.
  • Gatherings (συναθροίσεις) are not allowed. There are fines for individuals or companies trying to organize or host a gathering (3,000 euro for individuals, 5,000 euro for companies). All gatherings / social events in public or private spaces, indoors or outdoors, are suspended. There were exceptions for 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 January, when meetings of up to 9 people from maximum 2 families were allowed. 
  • No “loitering” is allowed in outdoors exercise areas, marinas, parks and public green spaces
  • Up to 2 people total (driver+passenger) per private vehicle or taxi are allowed. There are exceptions for families with children and for people in need of medical assistance. In addition, there are exceptions for students and teachers in non-urban areas, where up to 4 people can use the same taxi, upon proof.
  • Outdoors exercising or pet walking is allowed for up to three people – more on exercising below
  • Feeding stray animals is allowed in your own municipality
  • Remote working for businesses is compulsory, in both the public and private sector, for at least 50% of employees
  • Visiting people in welfare structures (e.g. retirement homes, care homes for the elderly) is suspended

A view of the Acropolis in Athens

Hope to be able to visit soon! 

COVID measures in Greece January 2021

The following venues and businesses will remain open throughout the lockdown:

  • Supermarkets will be open as normal, but will not be allowed to sell certain items in store. Examples of such items are kitchen goods, electronics, most electric appliances, most clothes, shoes, books and toys. For home deliveries, these items are fine. Supermarkets may extend their delivery slots until 1am
  • Bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, other grocery stores
  • Kiosks (allowed to be open 24-hours)
  • Street markets, with 50% of the stalls
  • Pharmacies
  • Hospitals, health services
  • Banks
  • Special schools
  • Cleaners (e.g. carpet cleaners)
  • Pet shops, veterinarians
  • E-shops
  • Opticians and stores selling hearing aids will be open, following a telephone call
  • Mobile telephony businesses will be open for selected services
  • Seasonal stores selling Christmas decorations will be open until 7th January 2021. Supermarkets as well as other stores will be allowed to sell decorations.

The following venues and businesses will remain closed until 18th January 2021:

  • Restaurants and cafes will remain open only for deliveries (also beyond curfew hours) and takeaways – wouldn’t it be fun to be able to go to the Little Kook!
  • All retail stores, including bookstores 
  • Hairsalons, barbers, nail salons, beauty salons
  • Kindergartens and primary schools are currently closed and set to reopen on Monday 11 January
  • High schools will reopen on Friday 8 January, offering e-learning to begin with
  • Universities, which will only offer e-learning
  • All private schools (π.χ. φροντιστήρια), language schools etc, which may only offer e-learning
  • Children’s playgrounds
  • Theatres, cinemas, galleries, music venues
  • Museums, archaeological sites
  • Gyms
  • Sunday markets, one of the best things to do on a Sunday in Athens
  • Driving schools
  • Orthodox churches and other temples, with the exception of funerals, where up to 9 people are allowed

Further measures for selected areas:

  • People on the Regional Unit of Samos island are exempt from sending the sms / completing the paper form. Due to the earthquake that happened a few days ago, hardware stores will remain open
  • Due to the natural disasters in the Regional Unit of Karditsa, hardware stores will remain open.

The SMS returns – What to do if you want to go out

People going to / returning from work during any time of the day, will need to obtain a form from their employer or print it themselves. You can find all the information on the official website.

As of Sunday 3 January 2021, the curfew is 21.00 – 5.00. Apart from people going to work, anyone going out between 5.00 – 21.00 will need to send an SMS to 13033, as follows:

  1. Pharmacy, doctor’s appointment or hospital visit
  2. Shopping for goods, where delivery isn’t possible (take-away only is not included here)
  3. Going to the bank (if e-banking is not possible) or to a public service for an pre-arranged appointment, for which written proof is necessary
  4. Going to help other people in need / Taking children to school / Taking spouse or first degree relative to work
  5. Attending a funeral / Movement of divorced or separated parents that is necessary for parent-children communication
  6. Exercising or walking a pet, for 1, 2 or max 3 people together, who will have a space of 1.5 metres between them / Feeding stray animals in the municipality of residence

During curfew hours (21.00 – 5.00), the only valid reasons to go out are

  • work (for which you should have the special work form)
  • health reasons (code 1)
  • SHORT walk with a pet (code 6)

Deliveries and takeaways are still in place during curfew hours.

If you are on a ferry arriving at your destination port after curfew, you will need to collect a paper from the port authorities, confirming that your arrival was during curfew hours.

How to send an SMS

The SMS is free to send, but you will need to have a Greek SIM card. The message should have the following format:

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

X will be the 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.

Street art in Athens Greece

Can I still complete a paper form instead of the SMS?

If you don’t have a Greek number, you can also complete a paper form or handwrite it yourself. You can find all information here (in Greek). Note that, in this case, you also need to fill in the address that you are going to. The form in English can be downloaded here.

The fine for not sending an SMS / not having a form is 300 euro.

Also, note that a takeaway only is not one of the 6 valid reasons mentioned in the SMS list – so it’s allowed if you are out for another reason. E.g. you can get a coffee on your way to work. Check out minute 6.00 of this video where it is explicitly mentioned.

Buskers in Athens Greece, pre-COVID

I miss this already!

Instead of an sms or paper form, you can also use an app

Numerous apps have also been created to facilitate the procedure. You can search for them on Google Play by using “13033”. If you have used any of them and found them helpful, feel free to comment below.

Exercising / Outdoors

Outdoors exercising is allowed for up to three people, who must keep a 1.5 metre distance between them. There is no specific mention in the official Gazettes for how far you can go or for how long, but there is a strong recommendation for exercising close to home.

In addition to individual exercising, here is the list of permitted activities in organized sports grounds:

  • Outdoors track and field
  • Tennis
  • Shooting
  • Shooting with bow / archery
  • Sailing (crew of up to 2 people)
  • Rowing (crew of up to 2 people)
  • Canoe kayak
  • Water ski
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Horse riding
  • Motor racing
  • Trekking / Climbing

It is advised that athletes limit their exercise time to one hour. Athletes do not have to wear masks during exercising in organized spaces. Also, you can only go to organized sports grounds in your own municipality.

Swimming in open air swimming pools remains suspended. There are exceptions for people with disabilities, provided their doctor has prescribed therapeutical swimming.

It has been explicitly mentioned that hunting and fishing are not allowed.

Travelling in Greece 2021

Travel between Regional Units within Greece is not allowed, with the following exceptions (essential travel):

  • business reasons
  • health reasons
  • returning to the primary area of residence, upon proof of permanent address obtained through the Taxis system
  • families reuniting, including children with divorced parents (this does not include people travelling to see their families for Christmas / NYE, unless they are travelling to their area of permanent residence)
  • funeral of a close relative.

Specifically for the Administrative Region of Attica, movement is allowed across all regional units in mainland Attica.

People who are flying out of Athens airport but are currently in a different Regional Unit, will need to show their ticket / proof of their flight to move across Regional Units.

People who want to travel across Regional Units for seasonal harvest work (e.g. olive picking), must provide official proof.

Until 18 January, passengers can currently only use domestic flights for the essential reasons stated above.

International travel to / from Greece January 2021

The restrictions that have been applying since mid- 2020 remain in place until 21 January 2021. You can read a summary in this article.

There is much more detail in the official travel website for international travel, where you can also find the PLFs. ATTENTION: Please note that the website isn’t always updated in time…

And if you are looking to get a local SIM card in Greece, here is everything you need: Best Greek SIM cards

Greece COVID measures – Updated January 2021

Hopefully this article sheds some light on the coronavirus situation in Greece. If you have any questions, please leave your comment below, and I will do my best to answer!

Here is my list of sources in Greek. As each article gets old, I will mark it as “old news”!

54 thoughts on “COVID measures in Greece January 2021”

  1. Hi! Thanks for the summary. It is not clear to me what gathering means. Can I visit a friend or have a walk with him for example or that counts as a gathering?

    • They have explicitly mentioned that public gatherings are not allowed. Like you, I am unclear on how someone would interpret visiting a friend or walking around with them.

  2. Hello
    I want to ask if i have a student visa..
    I can enter with plf and negative pcr to greece and i can return to my country also by the middle of december?
    Thank you

    • They have now changed the rules slightly, the test is needed if you are arriving from Wednesday 11 November onwards. This is in addition to the PLF forms. Now as for December, there is no way to predict…

    • Sorry I saw this too late! In theory yes, but there were strong winds in the Aegean today, and I know certain ferries from Crete to Athens were cancelled… it’s best to ask your ferry company

      • Heya. They texted saying will now leave tomorrow instead at 8am which is after lockdown starts so couldn’t be more nervous if you tried. 🙂

  3. Hi there thanks for this article. I am hoping to travel home to the UK in two weeks time from Greece. I am in EVIA although flying out of Athens. Will I be able to travel to the airport?

    • I haven’t seen any explicit exceptions for people whose final destination is abroad, but obviously it makes sense. I hope they provide some clarifications soon

    • I’d like to think that anyone that might stop you will agree that it’s perfectly reasonable to walk for an hour or so… In all honesty, not everyone can go running!

  4. are the post offices open ? and do i need an appointment in order to send a letter?
    and the same for western union ? is there any office open and it counts as going at the bank ?

    • Thanks very much for your question! Actually there is no specific mention in the Gazette for post offices specifically. I would guess it’s the same as a bank like you say. Another idea, if you only want to post a simple letter, you could buy a stamp from a kiosk and put the letter in the letterbox?

      • I need to send an official bank paper outside Europe , I believe i need to go in a post office. Thank you for your response

    • Judging by my neighbourhood, post offices are open and you do not require an appointment, but I haven’t seen any explicit government instructions.

  5. Thank you for this very informative description of what is occurring in Greece.

    I am in Sifnos and taking a ferry to Piraeus on November 13th, arriving at 10:20pm. I am planning to take a taxi to my hotel in Piraeus.

    Is this allowed? Will I be stopped and charged for violating the curfew?

    • Believe it or not, the official Gazettes do not have much information for visitors, and to the best of my knowledge there is nothing about hotels. So here is my speculation (remember I’m not a government official though!) – I would expect that anyone who might stop you would understand that you are in a unique situation. Make sure that you have with you copies of your ferry ticket, your hotel reservation, and a paper form clearly stating your case (if you can get someone in Sifnos to help you draft it in Greek, it might be best). Also, consider taking a pre-booked taxi from Piraeus so that you have the reservation before you get to the port. Check this older article with further info on Piraeus transportation.
      With that said, I haven’t seen any announcements for how ferries and other means of transportation will run during the curfew. Also, I am guessing that you have a flight out of Greece soon after the night you are staying in Piraeus? If not, I wouldn’t be sure if you can actually get to Athens at all, and it might be best to contact the local police or port authorities for further info.
      Hope this helps! And please leave an update on what you did and how things went!

      EDIT – There has just been an announcement. Upon arrival to Piraeus, you will have to contact the Port Authority who will issue you with a form proving that you arrived during curfew hours.

  6. I have a question regarding traveling.
    I have a friend who went to Italy on 5th of november and want to come back to greece but she could not.
    They said she must have a negative PCR test, taken max 72 hours before entry to Greece however when she goes to make the test they tell her that it will take up to 5 days minimum to have results because too many people are doing tests.
    So it’s contradictory and there’s no way she could have a valid test before she travels

    • Unfortunately I can’t offer any advice. She should get in touch with more medical institutions that could hopefully accommodate the 72-hour requirement. It’s best if she joins FB groups for Expats in Italy or something similar, I am sure more people are in the same situation and could offer some tips. Good luck!

  7. Hello
    Thanks for all this info.
    One issue am having is I need to drive to athens airport from corinth for picking up my husband who arrives on Sunday at 8pm and nobody seems to know what to do, even my local police.
    Any input?

    • I have seen a similar question being asked on tv, for which code 4 should be used, but this was before the curfew. It’s not very encouraging that your local police doesn’t know either… An easy solution might be to stay at a hotel near the airport and return to Corinth on Monday, though I totally understand this wouldn’t be your preference. Let’s wait and see if there are any clarifications.

      • Just as feedback, My local police station referred me to gscp who answered that under no circumstance am I allowed to move between prefectures with the current measures and so the traveler will have to manage on his own.

  8. Do you know what kind of proof is required to travel within Greece (from Athens to Crete) for work reasons? If a letter is issued, for example, from the company is that enough or does it need some kind of stamp? And are ferries still operating or is it by flight only? Thanks in advance for any information you might have or any sources you could direct me to.

    • I think it would be best to ask your employer, as the document would either have to come through the ΕΡΓΑΝΗ system, or be signed by your employer. Ferries seem to be operating, and it’s possible to book tickets from what I can see. Good luck!

      • Thanks! I’m a freelancer (though not registered as one in Greece) so it isn’t my primary employer, just a client and their business is registered but as internet services and they’re all freelance as well. Meaning that it’s not a big company with an office, HR, regular employees, etc., so they also have no idea. They would easily sign a paper and send it to me though, I’m sure. I also have no idea what the ΕΡΓΑΝΗ system, but I’ll ask them.

    • The current measures have been extended until the 7th December. As for what happens after that date, there will be further announcements later…

  9. Hi
    I am currently in south of Spain and I booked a flight ticket to Athens for the next week. I am going to visit a friend, I need to make a covid test & complete the PLF form, however I´d like to be 100% sure that I can enter the country and the police or different authorities will allow me to enter the country without a specific reason?

    thank you !

    • My understanding is that yes you can, depending on your passport and where you are flying from (e.g. flights from Catalunya are still on hold), however the only official source remains I see it hasn’t been updated since 9 November… but as far as I have know the same things apply, until December 14th. Hope this helps!

  10. Hi. I hope you can help me. I’m in the UK and in Rhodes for the lockdown. I need to go back to the UK for christmas, but having fallen in love with Greece, want to return immediately as a tourist. Do you think I will be allowed back in with a PCR test and PLF form? If not, I might just stay here and deal with the family christmas guilt!

  11. Hello thank you for the information. I have a problem .I need to collect 2 rescue puppies but it means I have to cross 3 province can I get permition to drive as we will only be in contact with the shelters .We need them to be ready for the flight to England hope you can help thank you regards Lyn .

    • You can definitely leave Greece, but you would also have to check all the rules that apply for Germany. Have a safe trip!

  12. Thank you so much for all the information.I would like to ask you a question about my daughter. She is flying from Malta where she is working with a Dutch passport on the 17th of december. The next day she will be flying to Kos and from there take a small ferry boat to Kalymnos. She will spend a small Christmas holiday of 10 days with us. As I understood there will be a quarantine for people arriving after the 18 th of december. She will be still traveling on that day. Do you think there will be a problem for her? I know it is a bit complicated but what is not during this corona time😊 thank you in advance

    • Given that she is landing on the 17th, she will be fine with no quarantine. {Please keep checking back on the article, as there are rumours that the quarantine rules might change.} However, Kos and Kalymnos are two different Regional Units, it’s best to check with the port authorities if travel is allowed. Have a lovely Christmas with your family!

  13. Thank you for your very good overview. You noticed that for leaving the country the PLF is needed. This is only the case for flights, not if you leave by ferry.

  14. My Kteo test is due 22/12/2020.
    Will I get a fine for not getting it by this date ?
    Also Road Tax is due.
    What are the rules on this ?

  15. Hi.
    I’ve just seen that “Athletes do not have to wear masks during exercising in organized spaces”, however if I’m running along a coast road and then back to my house (running a total of approx 5km, am I required to wear a mask if there is no one else around me? This morning I wore a mask and it just got wet and soggy in the rain which made it really uncomfortable, and I didn’t see another person the whole time I was out!

    • They have not been explicit on the Gazettes about exercising outdoors and masks. I’d like to think that it’s common sense!

  16. Hi I am arriving in Athens from the Uk on Dec 30 and flying to my primary residence on December 31. Will I be able to stay in an airport hotel on Dec 30 and continue my journey to the final destination on Dec 31st?

  17. Good morning,i just want to ask if it is allowed to go for car service(e.g. Change oil) and what number should i use to send to 13033? Thank you and God bless

    • Yes you can, these businesses are all open from what I’ve seen. I think it’s no 2, but it’s best to book an appointment with your car service and then you can confirm with them (and, if you remember, post it here too!) Thanks!

  18. Hi there!

    I guess I’m a bit confused. It says you can go trekking in an organized sports ground – how is that defined?

    Basically, could you go from Piraeus to Tatoi or Ethnikos Drimos, for example? It would seem that from the Prime Minister’s own actions you could make such an excursion (and that movement across Attica Administrative Unit is permitted).

    However, you cannot go from Kifisia to Alimos to swim…?

    Have you seen any clarification on this?

    • This is the million euro question. There have been several conflicting clarifications which is why there is no clear answer in the article. While in theory you can go to exercise anywhere in Attica, as per the Gazette and the PM’s recent interview, here is my personal opinion, for all it’s worth: if you are actually stopped it will eventually come down to the person who stops you and your actual interaction. As far as I’m concerned, I have a copy of the Gazette with me and I just hope not to be stopped 😀
      I am sorry if this isn’t helpful, but they aren’t making it that easy! Have a great day!

  19. Hello,

    I am a greek/australian citizen living in London. I have a very sick aunt in Kefalonia with no other family. I need to travel back to Kefalonia to care for her. WIll this be authorised? I have an apartment in athens to quarantine in on arrival to greece, and a house in kefalonia, though I am not a resident. I think I can travel for care reasons but it’s all a bit confusing. thanks for your help.

    • Hello… I am really sorry to hear about your aunt 🙁 I believe that this could be classed under “families reuniting / family reasons” (as far as I understand, providing help to a sick relative is not explicitly included in the essential reasons for domestic travel, but I personally know people who have done exactly that, having a doctor’s certificate for the sick person). I also have a friend who currently lives in France, her permanent address is in Athens, but took the onward domestic flight to Kefalonia (where her parents live) with no checks and no issues at all. I believe that you shouldn’t have a problem, but it would be best to get in touch with your embassy as they might be able to give you an official answer. Whatever you do, get a doctor’s certificate for your aunt. I wish you all the best!


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