Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Athens – Expanded COVID-Related Restrictions

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Athens, Greece, November 3, 2020

Location: Greece

Event: Expanded COVID-Related Restrictions Beginning November 3, 2020

On November 2, Greek authorities announced an expansion of both countrywide and region-specific restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19 beginning Tuesday, November 3.  In the regions of Thessaloniki and Serres, authorities have instituted the following measures:

·         Re-introduction of SMS message requirements for movement outside of homes

·         Restriction of movement from 9:00pm to 5:00am for work or health reasons only

·         Suspension of flights to and from Macedonia Airport in Thessaloniki

·         Ban on leisure travel to/from the Regional Units of Thessaloniki and Serres

·         Closing of retail stores and churches

·         Schools will remain open

Individuals caught violating movement restrictions in these areas face strict penalties such as fines and confiscation of license plates.  In keeping with restrictions announced by the Greek government, all consular services will be suspended at the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki as of November 3, 2020.  Consular services are available by appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Athens.

Restrictions now in effect throughout all of Greece include:

·         Masks are required both indoors and outdoors

·         Nighttime curfew between midnight and 5:00am (except travel for work or emergencies)

·         Telework required for 50 percent of employees in public and private sectors

Greek authorities also announced a three-tiered system of additional measures depending on COVID-19 risk levels, with regions designated as “monitoring” (yellow),  “high alert” (red), or subject to special restrictions (grey) on the health and safety map.  In regions on “high alert,” which includes Athens and much of northern Greece, in addition to the restrictions described above, current restrictions include:

·         Gatherings of any size are banned

·         Restaurants are restricted to take-out/delivery only

·         Operation of museums, gyms, playgrounds, movie theaters, nightclubs, and other entertainment facilities is suspended.

·         Taxis are limited to one passenger.

Universities will provide online instruction only, though other schools may continue operating.  Shops will remain open at present but will restrict the number of customers allowed inside.  Further restrictive measures, including travel restrictions, may be imposed in any region with higher incidence of COVID-19 with little to no advance notice.  Please check the latest Greek government information for the most up-to-date measures.

For full details, visit the COVID-19 page on our website.  A Level 3 Travel Advisory for Greece remains in effect.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Greece due to COVID-19.  Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.

If you seek to travel to Greece:

·         Read the country information page.

·         See the U.S. Embassy webpage regarding COVID-19.

·         Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19.

·         Follow the instructions of local authorities.

·         Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.

·         Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

·         Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.

·         U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

For emergency services, please contact the Embassy or appropriate Consulate General:

U.S. Embassy Athens
+30 210-721-2951

U.S. Consulate General Thessaloniki
+30 2310-376-300

State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or +1 202-501-4444