Greece transitioned to the next phase of its gradual reopening process Monday, allowing cafes and restaurants to resume business ahead of the summer tourism season.
The European nation is particularly eager to restart its economy following both the national lockdown and a decade-long financial crunch from which it only recently emerged.
Employees at the newly opened businesses will be required to wear masks and tables will be spaced further apart, Reuters reported.
Greeces 2,878 coronavirus infections and 171 deaths have been on the low end among European Union members. It was one of the first European nations to impose a nationwide lockdown in March.
Greece is open and safe. Its a destination where one can enjoy ones holiday while at the same time securing ones health, Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis told Reuters.
The Greek government has also reopened travel to all islands as of Monday, with ferries operating at 50 percent capacity. Year-round hotels are slated to reopen June 1, while their seasonal counterparts will reopen June 15, at which point some direct international flights from Athens international airport will also be allowed to resume, according to Reuters.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said all visitors will be required to take a coronavirus test and our general health protocols will be adhered to, without them, however, overshadowing our bright sun or the natural beauties of Greece.
Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said last week that Greek officials will announce a list of countries from which visitors will be allowed by the end of the month. Countries in close geographic proximity including Israel, Cyprus and Germany are expected to be the first allowed, but Theoharis said the countries will be named based on select epidemiological criteria.
Tourism to Greece accounted for about 19 billion euros in spending, and accounts for about 20 percent of its gross domestic product.