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Archive for the ‘Corona virus’ Category

Yesterday I wrote about a passenger information form that needs to be filled out but there is new information aboout a passenger locator form that you need to fill out whilst you are still at home before you come to Greece. I am sorry for the confusion.

The Greek government is trying to make absolutely sure that everybody that enters Greece is registered and can be found whilst they are here. Therefor they decided that from the first of July a passenger locator form (PLF) must be filled in 48 hours before you enter Greece. Greece is highly dependable on incoming tourism and welcomes everybody that wants to visit but on the other hand they want to make sure that those that visit are traceable through the information that they give in case of a corona case. After submitting their PLF form, each traveller will receive a personal QR code, which must be presented, either via mobile phone or on hard copy, upon their arrival in Greece’s.

Please read the information on the website carefully so you know what the procedure is whilst you are travelling. Wear masks and keep a distance from other passengers if that is possible.

Passenger Locator Form

I do not know if the form you fill out for the boat coming to Skopelos is obsolete. It might be good to print it out and have it with you in any case, or go earlier to the ticket office and ask.
Source:E-Kathermerini GTP travel news

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It is nice to visit a “new” beautiful place on Skopelos. I knew of its existence but I never visited the place. Monastery Kontronaki close to Skopelos town on the road to the Agia Marina spring and church.

Unfortunately this monastery opens once or twice a year for a couple of church services. My husband an me were lucky to go inside because some maintenance had to be carried out. The whole monastery was renovated in 2004.

On the grounds are a church, several offices, bedrooms, an open kitchen, storage areas and a beautiful garden. Everything is kept immaculate and the guardians of this monastery were busy for many days to get it ready for an annual feast.

In the meantime on Skopelos visitors are trickling in. Mainly by car from the mainland and via the two main airports in Greece. Up till now everybody gets tested at the airports and needs to go into quarantine for at least a day until the results are known. Then you can travel further but you have to leave details behind where you are going. From the first of July these protocols will probably change.

During the voyage by bus or boat you need to wear a mask and keep a safe distance from other travelers. Go earlier to the boat ticket office to fill out a form with your details. I have given the link in an earlier post.

This is the form you need to fill out when coming in via an airport.
Passengers arriving to Greece from specific countries are required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Information Form.
The form must be filled out by passengers arriving from Albania, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Travelers from other non-EU countries will also have to fill out the form.
Passenger information form

At the moment the amount of new Covid 19 cases is fairly small but the Greek government is testing everywhere to make sure not a lot of new cases turn up. From the first of July a lot of visitors will be arriving via charter flights. Everybody needs to be careful and follow the instructions that are given. Anywhere that food is served you need to make sure that the staff wears masks and that the distance between chairs and tables is more than 1,5 meters.

Beaches like Milia have visitors but not so many and therefor it is possible to keep a distance from each other. We went yesterday afternoon and it was amazing staying there for a couple of hours. In other places where there are beach bars make sure the sunbeds are at a distance that you feel comfortable.

In one of the bigger supermarkets you will be given a paper with a number so there are not too many people in the supermarket. When the amount of people has been reached you wait outside until you are let in.
The other supermarkets are not so busy so everybody can go in but check out, in general, how many people are inside and take heed. The supermarkets will enforce the rule when it is necessary. Wait if you do not feel comfortable.

The Skopelos health center has a new office outside the health center where people can get tested if there is a suspicion that they have the corona virus. The office is there just in case. The last few days the minister for the protection of citizens is travelling to all the local airports in Greece to make sure all the health protocols are met by the employees of the airport and the airplane companies.

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(Karya area today)

As of tomorrow more things will change in Greece.

The most important factor, as we go out now, is that we need to remind ourselves that social distancing and wearing a mask, where it is needed, are important rules to follow. Always washing your hands before you put your mask on and after you take it of.

The numbers of new corona patients in Greece is low but the Greek government keeps reminding everybody via television spots how and where people should wear masks, how you can make masks yourselves, warnings against big social gatherings. Well known and loved Greek actors lead in these videos and they are a hit. The first motto was stay home, now it is we stay safe.

Every Monday in the next couple of weeks, more businesses will be allowed to open and hopefully the economy will start “running” again but with a lot of rules. Greece is largely dependent on tourists and they might come to visit but in smaller numbers and the way of holidaying will never be the same for anybody.

At the moment only permanent residents and employees of businesses are able to travel back and forth to Skopelos without going into 14 days of quarantine afterwards but as soon as more people are allowed to use a ferryboat to travel to Skopelos they will be looked at to see if their body temperature is ok and every passenger needs to fill out a questionnaire. If they need to have a “corona free” statement/passport with them needs to be seen. That needs to be decided by the governments.

News about flights are: Flights between Greece and seven countries will remain suspended as of now for preventative measures on the Covid-19 pandemic, and non-EU nationals banned from entering Greece, the Civil Aviation Service (CAS) said on Friday.
In addition, all international flights must land only at the country’s main airport, the Athens International Airport (AIA).
Countries affected by the extension of suspended flights include Albania, Italy, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. A total of 5 Notams were issued with the following restrictions:
– All flights to and from Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom are suspended until May 31 (23:5).
– All flights to and from Albania, North Macedonia are suspended to June 14 (23:59).
– All flights from Turkey to Greece are suspended to June 14 (23:59).
– Until May 31 (23:59), all international flights are obliged to land at AIA.
Exceptions to the suspensions include cargo and emergency flights, military and Frontex flights, and flights to repatriate of Greek nationals, among others.
In addition, the ban of entry by non-EU nationals is extended to May 31 (23:59). The exception includes family members, citizens of Schengen zone countries, health personnel, and third-country citizens with long-term visas to EU or Schengen countries, civil and defense authorities, humanitarian personnel, airline crew, and any non-EU citizen with a travel permit issued by a Greek consulate.

We visited several beaches this week because the weather is really good. Very high temperatures, above 30 degrees Celsius on Skopelos. We only found locals and it was strange to see, people who normally we would not see, because they are so busy. It is a new thing, I know.


(Elios beach today, our dog was not the only visitor!)

Greece’s 515 organized beaches opened yesterday.
Businesses running beaches, renting out sun umbrellas and sunbeds opened but with restrictions. These include recording the number of bathers present (max. 40 people per 1,000 sqm), distances between umbrellas (minimum of 4 meters), and restrictions on the number of sunbeds per umbrella (two, except for families with minors). Bathers are also obliged to lie on their beach towels rather than the bed itself.
Beach bars only sell pre-packaged goods, while refreshment stands, coffee shops and the like operate as take-away, not allowing seating. The sale of alcoholic beverages is banned, and delivery is not allowed in the area. Music is also banned to avoid clusters of dancing people. Customers must keep a distance of 1.5 meters from one another while ordering. All group contact sports at beaches are also banned.


(beautiful shells found on Elios beach)

The government on Saturday proposed that the Health Ministry’s committee of health experts considers the opening of restaurants, cafes and similar establishments on May 25, that is one week earlier than June 1 as was scheduled

Source: Skopelosnews and Athens News Agency – Macedonian Press Agency

Greece is reading to welcome everybody that loves this country. When that will be and how is uncertain yet. I hope soon more will become clearer. Until then, stay safe.

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The two classes of the second kindergarten school on Skopelos have launched a wonderful initiative. The three teachers, the parent’s board and the parents did not want to lose contact whilst being in quarantine and opened in the second week of the lock down a Facebook “members only” group for the parents and their children.

Teachers Lia Pegiou, Ioanna Diamanti and Fenja Dakou give the pupils different assignments and tasks and the results are uploaded on the page. Various themes like the spring, Easter, mother’s day, basic colors, playing with letters are combined with drawing, playing with clay, cooking etc.

The teachers upload videos where they read a book or teach something. Here one of the teachers shows a trick with milk and liquid colors.

Once in a while the children have face time meetings with the other children (37) One time they sang a song together. I can imagine how that went with 37 children! Also parents and children make videos together and upload them.

To eat healthy is also something the teachers pay attention too and several videos of children cooking (with adult supervision of course) have been uploaded. In the group they also celebrate birthdays of the children and the teachers read books for the children every other day.

Everybody is very happy with this wonderful initiative where parents work/play together with their children and the teachers keep in contact with the pupils and the parents.
The children like it very much but they would rather be together in the classroom again. That is really what they are looking forward to!! Hopefully they will will meet soon again.

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(flowers found on the Pefkia/Raches road this Sunday)

Today more shops in Greece and on Skopelos are able to open their doors and when I walked through Skopelos this morning I saw people busy cleaning and putting up signs. It was wonderful to see and in the conversations I had I noticed a longing to go back to normal/ to start with normal again. Shops might be open but not with a lot of customers. We will have to see when that happens.

The available seats (52) on the Proteus boat have caused a lot of comments but I have heard from the Kosifis ticket office in Skopelos that more seats will be available soon. This will be nessecary because employees can now come to the islands with a written statement from the employer. Students that are having their finals this year have returned today to the schools. For the moment they are the only ones.

This snake skin we found on our land. A hedgehog also came to visit our house but probably did not like the cats. He is gone now. There is an abundance of animals around a the moment. Whether we take more heed or the animals feel more free because it is so quiet I don’t know.

There is a lot going on around the harbor and the town beach. I will take photographs and tell more in another post.

Not only are there a lot of flowers around but also a lot of herbs and flowers that can be used for teas etc.

I visited Sofia who is an expert and she showed me what she is up to. She gathers, she dries and uses many plants and herbs. This is her post about it on her blog.
http://www.skopelos39steps.com/sofias-blog/4557804331

Stay safe, wherever you are !

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Yesterday was the first day we could go out without sending an SMS text and it felt strange. We visited Elios again and the skies were beautiful!

I also went hunting for flowers in fields. I think these are an addition to the ones I published last week

Proteus ferryboat is back in the running. It is the only ferryboat that is running in between the Sporades and there is an issue with the amount of people that can travel in the boat because of social distancing. Only 52 passengers are allowed. It is very important that you book and get your boat ticket beforehand if you need/want to travel to the mainland. You can travel to Volos and surrounding areas as long as you don’t leave the province. later in the month these bans will be lifted.

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(the term “short outing” sms number 6, was taken a bit out of context when we visited Elios beach. These flowers and grasses were all found there)

Today is a quiet day in comparison with yesterday because yesterday I had an accident with my car and it threw me of balance completely. Me feeling like that probably has to do with the situation we are all in. We all live our life, most of us work but there is an undercurrent of uncertainty there.

Although we don’t have any Corona virus patients on Skopelos we do feel we are on hold, in a pause situation with a constant feeling of stress in the corner of our minds. I try not to think too far ahead but sometimes you cannot avoid it…

This little island is largely dependent on tourism and not knowing, how visitors will be able to come, how many will come and if they are able to come and under which circumstances, is difficult. We have heard that several big hotels/apartment complexes here will not open this summer. It might be a good summer for rooms and apartment owners if visitors want to continue social distancing at least in the place they stay the most. The restaurants and bars will have their tables outside and apart. On beaches umbrellas and sun loungers will also be about two meters apart. But will the visitors come? Maybe it will only be Greeks and non-Greeks living permanently in Greece.

An then today we visited a beach again in the afternoon and it was sunny, nobody else around, the sun umbrella up and I felt really happy those couple of hours. Can I feel like that when in the rest of the world so much more is going on?
I think we need to allow ourselves to have these positive feelings because it keeps us sane. The last couple of months has shown us events that we could not have imagined ever happening and the future will have many surprises for us I am sure. Let’s focus also on the good things happening, the good in people that comes out now and let’s stay focused on others needs.

Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced today the gradual relaxation of quarantine measures this coming Monday, May 4th.

One of the important messages was that the government will review the progress every day and can withdraw the privileges and new measures in an instant.

On May 4, citizens are free to travel within the prefecture/province of their residence without informing the government of their movements by holding handwritten permits or sending an sms as was the case until now.
Small retail stores, including hairdressers, beauty salons, bookstores can open but with restrictions of how many people can stay in the store. Personal exercise will be allowed at open areas and beaches, except for organized beaches, which will remain shut.

Starting on May 11, students of the final high school year will return to classes. They need to finish their exams in June. On May 18 all traffic restrictions within the country will be lifted, that is movement from one prefecture and away from the area of the residence permit will be lifted.

For me it was not clear when exactly bars and restaurants can open. It might not be until the first of June.

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Yesterday I got a text message from Tam Nightingale, a Skopelos resident and he told me that a friend of his Mr. Steve Bently (he and his wife Anita have been visiting Skopelos for years) had send him a poem. Tam after that composed the music and lend his voice to the poem.
The poem is about the time we all live in now. Corona time. Mr. Bentley says it more eloquent…..

“The lock down due to the corona epidemic has had an impact on everybody and it has inspired many people to do many things, not just on the caring side but also in terms of poetry and songwriting.

Up until yesterday I myself had not been particularly inspired to put pen to paper, but during a beautiful walk with my wife yesterday, a few words started to come to me. They started to flow shortly after we came across a Roe Deer feeding in a field. It watched us but just carried on grazing, not the least bit concerned by our presence.

I’m not saying it directly inspired me to write the poem but maybe the fact that it just carried on set something going. Anyway I decided to try and look at the current situation from a time before it all started, to try and imagine what it might be like if the things we took for granted were suddenly taken away. 10 minutes later, the poem was finished.

So I sent it to Tam and he did the rest. I really like what he’s done with it and it makes me feel that although we’re a long way away, a part of us is in Skopelos right now”.

Thank you so much Steve and Tam! Let’s keep inspiring each other!

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Untill the 4th of May


(some streets below the Kastro that I walked yesterday)

The Greek government has announced that the quarantine will last until the 4th of May. This means the quarantine has been extended for another week. Although the amount of corona virus patients is not high in Greece we have had a couple of places where some patients that had the virus were found together, among others a hotel where refugees are staying and a private health clinic in Athens.

As of next week the Greek government will start announcing which shops can open their doors again after the 4th of May but they will work with strict regulations about how many persons can be in the store, if a face mask needs to be worn etc. The same will be done for restaurants, bars, gyms etc. but they might re-open later than the 4th of May. The re-opening of schools is part of an ongoing conversation. It is expected that the highest classes of the high schools will go back to school to finish the year and have their final exams. The same for university students who need to finish their studies. If and when the rest of the students will go back to school we will see in the next weeks.

Slowly slowly the hospitals swill start performing surgeries again that have nothing to do with corona. Courts and land registry offices will open too, fairly soon, but also with restrictions.

If and when tourists will be able to come to Greece is unknown. The Greek tourism minister has said in an interview that if tourists from outside Greece will come, they will probably travel with a document that states that they are corona free. This document would be the result from a European partnership. Everybody travelling in Europa would carry such a document. I assume the same would be done with Greeks and foreigners travelling from Greece to other places in Europe.

At the moment the Greek ministry is also looking at promoting Greece to the Greeks themselves but if they can afford a holiday this year is uncertain.
The uncertainty about when they can re-open has villa owners, apartment owners, hotel owners, restaurant owners, shop owners and all those working in the tourist business, that lean heavily on incoming tourism, in its grip.

The longing for Skopelos is enormous. I hear it in the voices of friends when we have a telephone call or a video call. I read it in the messages that they send me. It will probably be a short summer but if it is allowed why not travel in the fall and spend time here?

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Tomorrow Easter Sunday it is forbidden to drive a car or a motorbike for any reason except an emergency or work (for work you will have the papers explaining this with you) Skopelosnews has verified this with the police. If you need any last minute shopping call the supermarkets to get it delivered.

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