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As coronavirus lockdowns begin to lift in Europe, Greece has its sights set on the summer for reopening.
The country intends to reopen to tourists on July 1, however it won't be a typical tourist season. While visitors will be able to sightsee and soak up the Grecian sun, they likely won’t be able to partake in the nightlife activities that make up much of the country’s tourism revenue.
"The tourism experience this summer may be slightly different from what you've had in previous years," Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told CNN. "Maybe no bars may be open, or no tight crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece — provided that the global epidemic is on a downward path."
Greece has been able to contain the spread of coronavirus to only 2,663 people, according to Johns Hopkins University. Only 147 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported since the outbreak in Greece.
Children are expected to return to school on May 11 and shops and restaurants are on schedule to reopen June 1. Hotels in cities are expected to open in early June, as well.
If everything goes as planned, Greece is imagining smaller tourism activities, particularly focusing on luxury customers who would stay in boutique hotels and partake in intimate excursions like agrotourism or yachting trips.
Every international traveler who currently arrives in Greece must land in Athens and undergo a health screening, including a COVID-19 test with a quick turnaround for results. Misotakis said he hopes the program expands to other countries, at least within Europe.
In a video conference with several other world leaders, Misotakis proposed the creation of “safe corridors” which would allow citizens of countries with a stable coronavirus response to travel later this year, according to The Greek Reporter. The call included heads of state from Austria, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Singapore, the Czech Republic and Australia.
Other European countries are slowly phasing back to normal after weeks of lockdown. This week, both Italy and Spain began lifting restrictions that had been imposed during the heights of their COVID-19 breakouts.