On 11th March 2020, WHO (World Health Organisation) officially declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic following more than 150 countries being affected by the spread of the disease.
The Greek Government were quick to act in response to this announcement implementing the following restrictive measures until further notice.
- Schools, cultural sites, libraries, theatres closed
- Cinemas, gyms, sporting facilities, nightclubs and playgrounds suspended from operation
- Group gatherings of 10 people or more banned
- Museums and archaeological sites closed
- Retail stores, bars, cafés, shopping malls and restaurants closed until further notice (take away and home delivery services continue to operate)
- Beauty salons and hairdressers closed
- Social distancing measures are in place in supermarkets and pharmacies allowing one person per 15 square metres. Hand sanitiser pumps have been installed at shop entrances for use by customers
- Cash transactions are to be avoided where possible
- Ski resorts and organised beaches closed
- All major public events for example carnival parades in February and Easter processions and Church services in April postponed or cancelled
Coronavirus Thassos lockdown
A temporary closure of all tourist accommodations from 23rd March 2020 until 30th April 2020 was implemented. However, a small number of properties have been permitted to remain open in each region/area for essential accommodation – for Thassos, this is the Poseidon Hotel, Limenas.
The Government imposed movement restrictions to be implemented from 23rd March 2020 until 27th April 2020. All residents are required to complete a downloaded form (available in Greek and English) or send a free SMS to 13033 before moving around the Island.
For those unable to download the form or use the SMS facility a handwritten version of the form is permitted. Key workers continue to operate with the use of printed permission from employers. Movement by car or on foot is limited to a maximum of two people. If movement is by car, the second person is recommended to sit in the back of the vehicle and not next to the driver.
Permission for movement is as follows
- To visit a doctor or pharmacy
- To visit a local supermarket, bakery, butcher or kiosk for essential provisions
- To visit a bank, if electronic transactions cannot be completed
- To visit a relative or elderly person in need of assistance
- To attend a wedding, baptism or funeral provided such ceremony takes place among close relatives only who adhere to the social distancing rules
- Personal exercising outdoors with a limit of no more than two people. The same applies to walking a pet. Social distancing rules should be adhered to.
Completion of the text message should be in the following format:
X [space] Name [space] Surname [space] Address
“X” represents the movement number from 1 to 6 from the above list. Once the text message has been sent, you will receive a message confirming permission of your “movement”. This message should be kept on your phone to be presented on request. You are also required to carry your ID. Foreigners will also be required to carry their residence permit.
Coronavirus Thassos – Flights to/from Greece
Temporary restriction of non-essential travel to and from Greece has been implemented. All arrivals into Greece are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. International flight operations from Turkey, UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Germany are temporarily suspended until 15th May 2020. Borders also temporarily closed.
Coronavirus Thassos – Ferry Operations Thassos
Ferries to/from Thassos and other Greek islands are only permitted to carry passengers who reside permanently on the islands, along with supply deliveries, until further notice. Visitors and tourists are currently not permitted.
Stay at home campaign
In addition to the measures above, SMS alerts and a televised “stay at home” campaign have been introduced whilst local fire and police services monitor movements on a daily basis.
Daily televised updates are provided by Sotiris Tsiodras, Infectious Diseases Professor and Nikos Hardalias, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management who provide medical updates detailing the confirmed new cases, deaths, number of people who remain in intensive care and, on a positive note, the number of recoveries.
The clear message that is being communicated at the end of each daily update is “Stay at home”.
During a televised update on 13th April 2020 the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotatakis, praised Greeks for adhering to the restrictive measures implemented over the past weeks. However, he warned that complacency could lead to new increased levels of spread especially in April, the most crucial month, since it is the month when Easter falls.
He said,“The war has not been won yet,” stating that restrictive measures had “won us precious time” to better organise the national healthcare system. Return to normal life and the relaxation of restriction measures will be implemented in phases, which are still to be announced. He stressed, however, that the elderly would still need to be protected.
Each country has taken different measures during different time frames to combat the spread of Covid 19, which has generated global differences of opinion. Many are of the opinion that measures implemented in some countries were not taken in a timely manner to reduce the spread.
Greece has, noticeably, been the exception to this trend. The Government imposed severe social distancing measures at much earlier stages of the epidemic than in many other European countries. It would appear, for now, that this speedy implementation has helped Greece avoid the catastrophic healthcare crisis that neighbouring European countries are facing. These early actions have evidently reduced the pressure on Greece’s healthcare system.
- As at 15th April 2020 Greece has registered 2,192 cases and 102 deaths – 210 cases and 10 deaths per million people.
- Spain has registered 180,659 cases and 18,812 deaths – 3,864 cases and 402 deaths per million people.
- Italy has registered 165,155 cases and 21,645 cases – 2,732 cases and 358 deaths per million.
- UK has registered 98,476 cases and 12,868 deaths – 1451 cases and 190 deaths per million.
(Statistics obtained from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/).
Greece has performed less tests per million people than Spain, Italy and the UK, however, there are no current signs that the pressure on its healthcare system is comparable to that experienced by these countries.
It would also appear that a vast majority of the Greek population appear to be respecting the lockdown restrictions. In cases where they are not adhered to, heavy penalties for non compliance are in place ranging from 150 – 5000 Euros.
Speed of Response Comparisons with Other European Countries
Number of days that had passed between the third death caused by COVID-19 in each country and the implementation of each measure in that country.
A value of zero days is displayed when the measure was implemented before the third death caused by COVID-19 was registered in the country.
Date when the restrictive measure was put in place.
Source: POLITICO research, Frontex, Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker
Coronavirus Thassos – Personal Measures
In accordance with the safety and precautionary guidelines issued by the WHO (World Health Organisation), it is advised the following personal measures are followed:
- Remain at least two metres away from other people and avoid crowded places
- Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands) when sneezing or coughing
- Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces to reduce the risk of spreading germs
- If you experience a fever higher than 37.5° it is strongly recommended to stay at home, limit all social contact and to seek medical advice.
Coronavirus Thassos – Current Situation
We are happy to share that Thassos has had 0 cases of covid-19.
Whilst normally at this time of the year the island would be a hive of activity with the preparation of homes for Easter and businesses commencing preparations for the summer season, this year, there is a different feel: it is noticeably quieter- evidence that residents are adhering to the movement restrictions. In saying this, homes are still being prepared to celebrate Easter albeit not in the normal manner but for a celebration with only close family, at home.
Hope fills the air that we can welcome visitors back to our beautiful island soon.
Coronavirus – Impact on the Greek Economy – Save Tourism!
What is also concerning is the impact this will have on the Greek economy. After a decade of economic crisis, Greece was starting to get back on track. Tourism, which represents a large part of the island’s economy, will suffer greatly if travel restrictions continue into the summer as all businesses employ a large percentage of the local residents. Given how quickly Greece has responded to the outbreak, the country will hopefully be fortunate enough to get back on its feet sooner than other countries.
By re-scheduling the date of your holiday rather than cancelling it and seeking a refund, you will help more than just the travel industry as this will have a knock-on effect on the full supply chain.
Many destinations rely heavily on tourism and these will suffer the greatest. By re-scheduling, this will help protect tourist accommodations from cessation of trading, in turn, this will protect the jobs of local people working within the accommodation sector, local suppliers, small local businesses, airport and transportation staff ….the list is endless.
It is not to be forgotten that tour operators and airlines may also be forced to cease trading which, in turn, would change future holidays from the way we know them. The fewer airlines that survive, the more current, competitive routes will be impacted.
Faced with the unprecedented turn of events, the Greek State, as well as other European countries, recently passed a law that allows businesses in the travel industry to issue a voucher instead of extending an immediate refund. If you do not redeem your voucher within 18 months from the issue date, the entire amount will be returned to you at that time.
We hope you are in a position to support all our local businesses by re-scheduling and not cancelling your booking at this time!
Stay Safe and we look forward to welcoming you soon!
Your Potos Rental Team
*We believe the Information, statistics and data provided to be correct at the time of writing.