NEWS

Plan to cautiously reboot tourism sector

TASSOULA KARAISKAKI, ILIAS BELLOS, STAVROS PAPANTONIOU

TAGS: Tourism, Coronavirus

After easing a public lockdown last week, the government is focusing on bolstering the economy with a particular focus on the crucial tourism sector, though plans for its operation amid the coronavirus pandemic foresee strict health and social distancing guidelines.

A detailed plan put together by the Tourism Ministry and the National Public Health Organization (EODY), and seen by Kathimerini, foresees a very cautious rebooting of the tourism sector with strict rules for hotels and other tourist accommodation, for ferries and other forms of transport as well as for restaurants, marinas and beaches. 

The use of a face mask will be obligatory on all forms of transport, until at least June 15 when the measure will be reviewed, and the same will apply to staff at hotels and other tourist enterprises. 

The aim is for all hotels to have staff fully trained on how to retain safe distances and respond safely in the event of a suspected infection and to have an on-site doctor to conduct diagnostic tests for Covid-19.

Staff will also be obliged to reside in single rooms and have their temperature taken daily to check for fever, a common symptom of the virus. 

Common areas are to be disinfected regularly and safe distances applied in dining areas and around swimming pools. 

One proposal reportedly being considered by the government is to only accept tourists if they have undergone a test for Covid-19 and tested negative.

With Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis aiming for the tourist season to open formally on July 1, senior government officials are looking to ensure that all measures are in place to avert a coronavirus relapse. 

The plan stipulates that the temperature of tourists will be taken upon their arrival and they must carry a certificate confirming they are healthy. In the event that during the holidays they show symptoms or fall ill, the plan is to move them to quarantined structures and hotels contracted with the health system to exclusively host coronavirus patients. 

Greece expects, as Mitsotakis has stated, a unified European stance on the issue of tourism. If this is not possible, then there is a plan for bilateral cooperation with various countries. 

The government is also said to be pondering the temporary reduction of value-added tax for restaurants, bars and cafes.

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