Kapetanos Giorgos spent a lot of the winter as regular, catching squid on the small Greek island of Gavdos, not removed from the island of Crete.
Now that Greece is about to open its doorways to vacationers on Could 14, Giorgos and his household are making ready to greet an inflow of vacationers on the terrace of his restaurant.
Greece will enable guests from each Europe and elsewhere to journey to the nation with out the necessity to quarantine after their arrival. Additionally on Could 14, COVID-19 lockdown restrictions will probably be lifted.
For restauranteurs like Giorgos, the brand new guidelines are a lifeline.
Tourism generates over 1 / 4 of Greece’s GDP and employs 16% of its inhabitants. Because the begin of the pandemic, 65,000 jobs in tourism have been misplaced.
Gavdos has an low season inhabitants of 100 folks and, Giorgos advised Euronews, the residents barely seen the worldwide pandemic through the winter.
“Life went on as traditional,” he mentioned, “however when summer season arrives, every little thing modifications.”
All the inhabitants of the island has now been vaccinated towards COVID-19 in keeping with the Greek authorities’s coverage of vaccinating residents of small and distant islands.
To date, the inhabitants of 32 islands has been vaccinated with each doses, whereas one other 36 islands, with a inhabitants of lower than 10,000, will probably be absolutely vaccinated by Could.
Greek Minister of Well being Vasilis Kikilias mentioned on Could 12 that the communities of all of the Greek islands – besides massive islands comparable to Crete – will probably be vaccinated by June.
It hasn’t been straightforward, officers say, delivering hundreds of vaccines to far-flung islands scattered across the Aegean Sea.
“Are you able to think about transporting tons of of vials, saved in ice, by airplane or boat? It wanted an important effort” Nikolaos Komineas, mayor of Astypalea, advised Euronews.
Komineas is buoyed by the truth that residents are presently out portray their doorways and home windows, a convention earlier than the summer season inflow of holiday makers.
“50% of our island economic system depends upon tourism,” he mentioned, “and people who work in different sectors, comparable to our honey producers, nonetheless profit from the arrival of vacationers” Komineas defined.
On Patmos, recognized for its beautiful monastery, residents are amongst these nonetheless ready. However Iacobos Koutlakis, president of the hoteliers union, advised Euronews that the island’s COVID-19 instances “could possibly be counted on one hand.”
He mentioned that resort bookings for this season are presently at 50%, which is a constructive signal.
However COVID-19 has not gone away. On Could 12, the variety of new infections introduced by Greek well being authorities was 2,489, with 707 new sufferers intubated.
To date, simply 13% of the inhabitants – multiple million folks – have obtained each doses of the vaccine, whereas Greece ranks eighth out of the 27 international locations of the European Union when it comes to the proportion of absolutely vaccinated inhabitants, the Greek Ministry of Well being acknowledged.
Solely 63% of individuals over the 80 age have been vaccinated, whereas different international locations, comparable to Spain, have already vaccinated the 100% of the identical age group.
The issue, officers say, is scepticism about vaccines.
Marios Themistocleous, normal secretary on the Ministry of Well being, mentioned that some Greeks have been extra reluctant than different international locations to obtain the AstraZeneca vaccine due to reviews about blood clots. Whereas vaccine misinformation was a significant concern.
“The vaccine misinformation unfold on the social media in order that many aged folks in Greece determined to not get vaccinated” Giannis Galanopoulos, member govt of OENGE, the Federation of hospital docs in Greece, advised Euronews.
“We ought to be involved concerning the vaccine rollout velocity, on which the way forward for the approaching months relies upon, however Greeks are exhausted” the physician defined.
“Many don’t perceive what the purpose of the lockdown was, because it lasted six months and in the present day, we nonetheless have many instances of infections. Nonetheless, a brand new lockdown within the coming months is unlikely, as a result of the economic system wouldn’t enable it” Galanopoulos mentioned.
Greece’s authorities, nonetheless, believes it’s prepared.
“I typically hear the query: final 12 months we went in lockdown with nearly zero infections, why in the present day are we opening with so many covid instances? As a result of 2021 is just not 2020” Akis Skertsos, Deputy Minister accountable for the coordination of the Authorities work, mentioned in a press briefing yesterday.
“Final 12 months the inhabitants immunity was nearly zero, whereas proper now it’s growing exponentially” he added.
Greece was the primary Mediterranean nation to reopen to additional EU tourism, however different international locations like Spain and Italy – which have higher vaccine rollout velocity – appear able to comply with in its footsteps.
On the seashores alongside the coast of Athens, ready for vacationers.
“Earlier than, you had to decide on between dying of covid or ravenous. Now we now have hope once more, due to the vaccine” Manolis Perakis advised Euronews, in entrance of the sandy seaside he manages.
“After six months of lockdown, Greeks themselves really feel like vacationers in their very own nation. Lastly, we are able to take pleasure in a souvlaki with a beer as if it have been the primary time” he mentioned.
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