In recent days, the Cretan tourism industry has become increasingly concerned about the further fate of this year's tourist season. The number of new infections in Crete increased sharply last week, but there has also been a strong increase across the country. As reported last Sunday, the Prefecture of Rethymno and Heraklion were among the top five Greek regions with the highest number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Of particular concern was the re-placement of Crete on the orange list by Norway. The country has introduced a separate classification for selected islands and archipelagos. From July 11, Norwegian citizens are again quarantined after holidays spent in Crete. As for the other Scandinavian countries, they have not yet updated their safe country lists. However, this is expected in the coming days. The Scandinavian countries are one of the main tourism markets, so changing the security classification of Greece from green to orange or red could mean massive cancellations in these countries.
The high rate of growth of new infections did not go unnoticed by the Greek government. The first reaction from the authorities was the restrictions on dining establishments, clubs and bars. The soaring number of new cases is primarily to blame for overcrowded nightclubs and non-compliance with safety rules. From 8 July, last Thursday, gastronomy in Greece again functions on different principles. Only seated guests are served on the premises, and severe financial penalties and a temporary ban on business are imposed on the owners of the premises for breaking the new restrictions. In the case of repeated disregard for the restrictions, the operating license is withdrawn.
Another change, which will concern the operation of closed rooms in restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, theaters and sports facilities, will come into force on July 16 and will remain in force until the end of August. Only vaccinated persons will be allowed to stay in closed areas of these premises. From July 15, the owners of these places will be able to download a special Covid Pass application, which will be used to verify the vaccination certificate presented by the visitor. Of course, there will still be an increased but predetermined limit of people in these facilities.
According to sources, the Greek government also introduces similar restrictions when organizing weddings and baptisms. In Greece, these events are organized on a grand scale and no one is surprised by the presence of 1000-1500 people. There is currently a limit of 300 people who can attend such parties. However, this limitation is regularly broken.
However, this is not the end of the new rules. Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis announced compulsory vaccinations for selected groups of workers. People working in nursing homes are to be immunized immediately. The second group to be vaccinated from September 1 will be healthcare workers, both in public and private institutions. Those who fail to get vaccinated must expect a suspension from work. This is a decisive step that confirms what Mitsotakis announced a few days ago. The Greek prime minister has made it clear that he will not impose another lockdown on citizens just to protect unvaccinated people from contracting the coronavirus.