Home Travel New Rules In Greece & France May Give Unvaccinated Travelers Few Options

New Rules In Greece & France May Give Unvaccinated Travelers Few Options

by SharonKurheg

After 14 months of border closures, Greece opened its doors to international travelers – including those from the U.S., – on April 19th.

Early on in the Mediterranean country’s reopening, travel was decidedly difficult. As of April 19th, the country was still on a nationwide lockdown, nightly curfews continued and there was still a ban between different regions of the country.

Marci-Beth Maple, marketing manager at a travel agency specializing in Greece, was quoted in AFAR as saying, “While American travelers are welcome now, we recommend booking for June or July.”

However over time, restrictions eased. By early July, cafes, bars and restaurants were open, as were museums and shops. Ferries were running between islands. The curfew had been pushed back to 1:30 am, meaning travelers could enjoy a good portion of what Greece typically had to offer. That is if they provided either a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travel, proof of infection within the past 2-9 months, or proof they’ve been fully vaccinated (Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novovax, Johnson + Johnson, Sinovac, Sputnik, Cansino and Sinopharm were all acceptable), and completed their cycle at least 14 days earlier.

Unfortunately, a lot of that has now changed.

Effective July 16th, to access indoor venues such as restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas, theaters and nightclubs, patrons (local and travelers alike) must show proof of vaccination or evidence of recent recovery from COVID-19. Those who are unvaccinated will not be allowed to enter, except for children, who can enter with a negative test.

Outdoor clubs and music venues in Greece will also be affected by the new rule – they’re only accessible to those who are fully vaccinated or recently recovered (there’s also a capacity cap of 85% and customers are not allowed to stand in the venues).

According to the Associated Press, France has also announced new rules, effective July 21st. They will have mandatory COVID-19 passes for access to restaurants, bars, shopping malls and many tourist spots, as well as trains and planes. The passes are available to anyone who is fully vaccinated, recently recovered or who has a recent negative test.

The reasoning for both countries’ new rules is twofold. The Delta variant is sweeping across Europe, with surges in numbers of both countries (about 47% of France’s population has been vaccinated and less than 40% of Greece’s citizens have been). Limiting access to enclosed and crowded places will be safer for those who visit. However, having those limitations is also a potential incentive for locals to get vaccinated (and perhaps tourists to get their shots before they visit either country).

Feature Photo: El Spartan/El Greco – Wikipedia

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Charlie Barkowski July 21, 2021 - 9:24 am

Honestly, it isn’t that big of a deal (in Greece) since the establishments that are now for vaccinated customers only were closed until very recently. Most people drink and dine outside anyway and have been used to doing that for the last year (in nice weather!).
The only way this may make a significant impact is for the owners as they can now increase their customer area and still cater to unvaccinated outside while having vaccinated inside. Some locations are even only allowing outdoor customers to be unvaccinated – which isn’t that pleasurable for vaccinated customers that want to sit outside (during busy hours).

George July 21, 2021 - 9:49 am

Planned to go in October, now will cancel. Head to a country that doesn’t discriminate.

Not interested in supporting authoritarianism.
Sad. I’m Greek too :/

SharonKurheg July 21, 2021 - 10:29 am

Authoritarianism? You’re kidding, right? It’s a matter of public health. But when people refuse to get vaccinated and variants keep coming up, it’s not surprising that’s what they’re doing.

Iceland was great – 90% of their population is vaccinated and they only allow you to visit if you can show proof of vaccination. I haven’t felt so safe, not wearing a mask in public, since 2019.

EDS183 July 21, 2021 - 11:08 am

Discrimination generally only applies to things you don’t have a choice in. (race, gender, age, disability) If a person chooses not to get vaccinated, then Greece/France is not a place to go. Life is about choices, It is not authoritarianism to let a person have a choice on whether to get vaccinated or not. Choices have consequences, it is not discrimination/authoritarianism for people to have consequences for those choices.

Stephen July 21, 2021 - 1:13 pm

Just left Athens on the 20th, did not know about this. Was asked at the Acropolis Cafe for my vaccination card, I just thought it was there policy. I think we always ate outside except at the Hotel breakfast.


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