Archive for the ‘Corona virus’ Category

Life on Skopelos moves on like in the rest of the world and the visitors on the island hopefully experience some kind of peace, tranquility, sense of being on holiday. We cannot lose contact with reality though and when I got this message on my telephone this afternoon I knew what it would say because in the fight against Covid-19 we have to be aware that when we leave this destination we need to be careful on the return journey too.

This year I have noticed that some fruits like grapes don’t need more than the sun because we did not treat them with anything and we picked these yesterday in our garden! The plumbs though are falling of the trees before we can pick them. They have been eaten or get bad. Black figs are all around at the moment. Amazing!

And what about the sunflowers! These can be seen in the road towards the post office. Just growing taller and taller and showing their happy faces.

Yesterday somebody saw a couple of people starting a BBQ in Amarandos. Fortunately there was somebody who immediately warned these people that a BBQ outside is absolutely forbidden! Only in a contained BBQ environment surrounded by stones etc. you can do this and only at home or your holiday home. If you see otherwise warn the fire department.

It is amazing to see that although travelling to Skopelos is very difficult for many people I see so many familiar faces on the streets. Everybody has made such a big effort to come here. Travel safe, stay safe and wear a mask everywhere and keep social distancing in place.

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All travelers entering Greece from Sweden, Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain and The Netherlands as of August 17 will be obliged to present a negative molecular test result (PCR) for coronavirus (Covid-19) upon arrival to the country.

The test must be performed up to 72 hours before travelers enter Greece.

The announcement followed a teleconference of government officials chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday. The new measure was decided after a spike in confirmed Covid-19 cases was recorded during the past days.

The negative molecular test result (PCR) for coronavirus must be from a certified diagnostic center and in English when presented to Greek control authorities. The test result must include passport or ID details of travelers.

It is noted that airlines must check whether passengers have a negative Covid-19 test before the flight. If not, passengers should not be allowed to board. Airlines that do not comply with this obligation will be responsible for the repatriation of passengers at their own expense.

It is reminded that all travelers to Greece are still obliged to complete the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) 24 hours before entering the country.

For further information on traveling to Greece in the post-Covid-19 era, see here
Source: GTP travel news

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The government’s decision for the mandatory use of face masks in all indoor public places between August 1-31 has been published in the Government Gazette.
Eating places, people with medical issues – such as difficulties breathing – or children under 3 years of age are exempted from the mask-wearing measure, as are hairdressers’ establishments and beauty parlors if facial care is performed.
In addition, restrictions are imposed on visits to retirement homes, facilities for vulnerable people, refugee centers and hospitals (to Aug. 15), excepting people accompanying patients, while ceremonies for life events such as baptisms, marriages and funerals are restricted to 100 people each (Aug. 3-15), keeping social distancing.

This coming week in particular (August 3 to 8), nightclubs, bars, live-music venues, bar-restaurants, cafes and such may only allow seated clients, not standing-room only. Recommended social distances must be observed at beaches, and public and private boats, throughout the month of August, while all open-air events, including saints’ festivals, are banned until August 31.

In addition, the suspension of air and land connections with Turkey, Albania and North Macedonia is extended to August 15. Also extended to August 15 are the requirements for visitors who enter Greece via Promahonas border station to have tested negatively over the last 72 hours prior to entry, and the same is true for air passengers from Bulgaria, Romania and the United Arab Emirates.
Anti-coronavirus curfews and group exodus restrictions at all refugee accommodation facilities and hot spots nationwide are extended to August 31. Effective since March 23, the curfews restrict to and from movement from facilities to the hours between 07:00 and 21:00, with a maximum 150 refugees allowed to leave per hour, and that in groups of no more than 10 people.
Meanwhile, intensive checks for the diligent observance of preventive measures against the coronavirus were on Saturday launched by the regular and traffic police and the Coast Guard.

Source: Athens makedoniko News Agency/ https://www.amna.gr/

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As of Wednesday the 29th of July the wearing of masks by the public is mandatory in bakeries, butchers, fish shops, patisseries, retail shops, hair dressers and beauticians.
Also we must wear a mask in banks, post office, the water and electricity company and other government offices.

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Today it was announced via several newspapers that on Skopelos the first patient with mild Corona symptoms (Covid-19) was found. The messages in the articles vary about where the patient is staying, some sources say he is in quarantine in a designated hotel, others say he is in quarantine in his home.

I tried to find a written statement from the National Organization for Public Health (ΕΟΔΥ) in Greece mentioning Skopelos but so far nothing has appeared in a press release. There are the papers though that report the fact and quote the ΕΟΔΥ and I communicated with a council member attached to the mayor of Skopelos mr. Perissis and she told me that the fact is true and they were informed by the ΕΟΔΥ via telephone. I think that when a patient (in general) is found the local ΕΟΔΥ team informs the headquarter and after that the municipality/city is informed. The local ΕΟΔΥ team has been on the island for a while and can perform 5 Corona tests a day.

New rule: As of today everybody in Greece when entering a supermarket and the employees in the supermarket should wear a mask. If you do not wear a mask the fine is 150 euro. Wear a mask, wash your hands reguraly and make sure you uphold the social distancing rules. It is the only thing we all can do at the moment.

Sources mentioning the news (in Greek) Vories Sporades blog, E-Thessalia newspaper, Thenewspaper, Magnesia news

This press release just came from the municipality in which they categorically deny that Skopelos will be “shut down”. This news comes from the television station Alpha. The municipality insists on a retraction of the statement otherwise there will be legal consequences they say.

The municipality urges everybody again to wear a mask, uphold the rules for personal hygiene etc. The municipality announces also that regular checks in businesses will continue on the island.


Αγαπητοί συμπατριώτες ,

θέλουμε για ακόμη μια φορά να σας ενημερώσουμε σχετικά με το covid-19:

Να φοράτε μάσκες, να τηρείται τα πρωτόκολλα υγείας και να γνωρίζετε ότι θα ακολουθήσουν έλεγχοι από ειδικά συνεργεία.

Θεωρούμε δε απαράδεκτη την παραπληροφόρηση και δυσφήμηση του νησιού μας από συγκεκριμένη δημοσιογραφική ομάδα εκπομπής του τηλεοπτικού σταθμού ΑΛΦΑ.

Διαψεύδουμε κατηγορηματικά τις φήμες περί δήθεν κλεισίματος του νησιού μας.

Σας καλούμε να εμπιστευόσαστε τις επίσημες ανακοινώσεις από το Δήμο Σκοπέλου και τον ΕΟΔΥ.

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Keep going!

(view from the new Veranda bar)

Writing on the blog has become more difficult lately because there was not a lot to tell. What there is to tell is about the corona virus and the news is not always good. I therefor try to focus on the positive sides of these strange times and I spread that news. I also want to paint a picture of how we now live on Skopelos and how those that want to visit hopefully can enjoy Skopelos as much as before.

First some news about visitors that want to come via Promachonas in Bulgary into Greece. All travelers entering Greece through the Promachonas border station as of July 14 will be obliged to present a negative molecular test result (PCR) for coronavirus (Covid-19) at the border/toll station. The test must be performed up to 72 hours before travelers enter Greece. The measure was taken after an increase in positive corona virus travelers that entered , was noticed.

Social distancing during big dance parties (Πανηγύρια) is forbidden until the end of the month. There were several of these parties where social distancing was not maintained. Usually the parties are organized with a well known singer and a band. The authorities were worried that the spreading of the virus , if occurred, would spread fast because of the hand holding during the dancing and the enormous amount of people present.

In the meantime on Skopelos we see quite a few Greek visitors holidaying here. The Greek government is sponsoring holidays for Greeks this year, more than ever, to keep the Greek economy going. Free travel and reductions on places to stay are part of the packet. The influx of foreign visitors is very important too of course. On Wednesday, direct flights to regional airports in Greece from England are possible.

We see a lot of locals swimming and sunbathing this summer. It can be because there is not a lot of work (yet) but I hope that the time families/couples spent together during corona virus continues on the beaches!!

A new cafe has opened it’s doors. It is housed in the old KEP office and the help TAX office. it is called Veranda and the view from there is wonderful!!

and so we keep going, we visit the supermarkets and wait outside until we can go in with a card, we go to government offices and get helped via a window or through the door. If we go into the mayor’s office we wear a mask. In other shops we watch out how many people are inside and wait outside when there are too many. The same goes for the post office. Things have changed but they are not undo-able. We can visit bars and restaurants and enjoy ourselves, we can go on hikes, go canoeing, go for a swim and have a fantastic time!

Skopelos is still an amazing island with an unforgettable nature, stunning views, empty spaces, beaches with people and beach bars and hidden beaches without that, wonderful villages with friendly people and the sea, still so clear!

So if you want, if you can, come again, come for the first time. You will not regret it.

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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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