‘We Cannot Wait Until June’: Greece’s Reopening Gamble

Greece has reopened to many overseas visitors, including from the U.S., jumping ahead of most of its European neighbors in restarting tourism, even as the country’s hospitals remain full and more than three-quarters of Greeks are still unvaccinated, the New York Times reported. It’s a big bet, but given the importance of tourism to the Greek economy — the sector accounts for one quarter of the country’s work force and more than 20 percent of gross domestic product — the country’s leaders are eager to roll out the welcome mat. And although the U.S. State Department recently added Greece to its long list of countries with the designation “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” Greek officials maintain that — with social distancing measures and testing protocols, alongside the warming weather — tourism in the country will be safe, for visitors and residents alike. In easing its border restrictions, Greece has jumped ahead of a broader European Union reopening to tourists from outside the bloc, but the country is not alone in pushing the timeline. Among European Union members, Croatia and Cyprus have also already opened to vaccinated and Covid-negative tourists, including from the U.S. And President Emmanuel Macron of France announced last week that, if the country’s epidemiological situation allows, the country will open on June 9 to all non-European Union visitors, provided that they carry a “health passport,” details of which have yet to be announced. Outside the European Union, but still within Europe, Iceland, Montenegro and Serbia have already taken steps to ease their border restrictions, including for American visitors. Read more.