Archive for the ‘Travel/ transport’ Category

A 24-hour strike called by Greece’s main public sector union ADEDY. Ferry travel is also expected to be disrupted on Thursday as five seamen’s unions are joining the 24-hour strike. The strike will run from 00:01 on Thursday until midnight. Not all available boats will be coming and going to Skopelos and the other islands in the Sporades. Proteus might travel. Please ask the ticket offices on the island if you need to travel.

ADEDY is protesting a draft law of the Labor Ministry that includes regulations on working hours, overtime, industrial action and trade unionism.

Air travel in Greece will also face disruption on Thursday as air traffic control personnel and electronic security engineers are participating in the 24-hour strike called for that day. The unions have also announced work stoppages on Wednesday, November 25.

Also on Friday, November 27, the PanHellenic Union of Licensed Aeronautical Telecommunication Officers will hold a 4-hour work suspension from 10am until 2pm.

Those planning to travel by ferry, train or plane in the next few days are advised to contact their travel agents for details.

GTP travel news and Nikos Triandafillou in Glossa

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This is from their press release:

First woman from the Northern Sporades to qualify as a captain from the merchant marine academy Aspropirgos takes on her first command.

Skopeliti woman Kiriaki Provia ,23, has taken her first command as captain after becoming the first Northern Sporades woman to graduate as such from the merchant marine academy. She is now Captain of SeaCab 1 the first boat of the SeaCab company which operates between Skiathos and Skopelos.

She says “I am delighted to take on the captaincy of this ultra modern boat. Transport is the lifeblood of islands and SeaCab is an important innovation to help people access my beautiful home island”.

SeaCabs William Vranas added “Our aim is to create a modern, safe and affordable transport access for Skopelos while supporting and engaging with the local community. So we are so pleased that a young Skopelti woman who is so highly qualified has joined us as captain.”

Seacab website

Photos Martin Becket

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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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Seacab is starting again on the first of July. It will travel from Skiathos to Loutraki, Elios or Agnondas. On request there might be other stops on that side of the island.
Please make contact with the company before you travel and book your trip. The company prefers you send fill out the questionaire so your confirmation is on paper etc. It is better than calling. When it is absolutely nessecary call: +30 306934343287 (update 24/06/2020)

Seacab website

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Below I have scanned the health declaration that adults (children under 18 you include on your form) need to fill out when they travel with a boat going to Skopelos and any other destination ( to go and for the return journey) that you have to reach by boat. You can print this one (which is not affiliated to a shipping company) that I have linked below and fill out the details that don’t change like; family names etc and fill in the name of the boat etc. just before you travel.

If you want to fill out the health declaration before embarkation please go a little earlier to the ticket office and get the forms and fill them out. When you reach the boat somebody will take the form and examin it and after that you can go inside.

The link is here: pre boarding health questionaire

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On Friday I had to go to Volos and armed with a couple of masks I started the journey. In the flying dolphin everybody had masks on from the start and I did not see anybody taking it of during the journey. I did not think I could keep the mask on but if you sit still it is ok to do. When you are travelling with a ferryboat it is easier because you can go outside. Leaving the boat I took my mask of and deposited it in a bag so I could wash it at home. I saw that in the bars and shops with food, like bakeries, the employees all wore masks and almost every store has signs which tell you how many people can go into the store at once. Near the entrance are places with anti septic gel. I heard that health inspectors from local government organizations go to cities/villages/beaches/clubs/shops etc. and check if personnel and owners abide to the rules that are set up by the government and impose fines when necessary. Police, city police and harbor police also check.

The place that I needed to visit receives many people all day. Here I used my second mask. Only those with an appointment could go in and only after they were called out. You had to tell them you had arrived and on the pavement were small benches and chairs. When you were called in you had to leave your papers and go out again. Then you were called for the actual appointment and go out after that again. Back in again for the results. Very organized everything. Everybody with a mask, signs everywhere for the distance you had to keep. I used my third self made mask on the journey back.

When you are coming to Greece please try to find out what rules apply for the country you are coming from. At the moment everybody gets a test and waiting for the result means you need to stay in a hotel for a night. When the result are negative you can travel on but you need to self quarantine for a week. When you are tested and positive you need to go to a hotel that the government will pick for you and there, under supervision, you need to be in quarantine for 14 days. This might change after the first of July.

The information below is from the Athens-Makedonia press agency.

The Athens and Thessaloniki international airports will lift some restrictions for incoming international flights on Monday the 15th of June, with specific health safety protocols in place on the ground.
Specifically, as of Monday, Athens International Airport (which continued to receive international flights from specific countries during the last three months), will lift restrictions on arrivals from Italy, Spain and The Netherlands until June 30. Flights from Albania and North Macedonia, will be allowed only for essential travel of non-tourist nature, while the ban on flights from Great Britain and Turkey will be maintained, regardless of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) list.
The Thessaloniki International Airport, after three months of restrictions, will, as of Monday too and until June 30 receive all international flights, except those from Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Turkey, Albania and North Macedonia.
All other airports across the country will open to international flights on July 1.
A 1.5 meters distance among everyone at airports and at all times must be observed as must the use of face masks.
Passengers arriving from June 15-30 from airports outside of the EASA list and from Italy, Spain and The Netherlands will be sampled and travelers will be subjected to one day of self-isolation at a hotel of their choice until the test result is available; if the test is positive, they will be quarantined for 14 days.
As of July 1, all travelers arriving in Greece will have to submit a Passenger Load Factor (PLF) form with their contact details in Greece.

Source: ANA-MPA

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Getting here

seaside Skopelos

On Monday two ferry boats and a flying dolphin will sail between the Sporades and Evia (Mantoudi) For more info.
I advise to look at http://www.openseas.gr. You can search with English terms.

Greece will open its borders for 29 countries from June 15.
I imagine that week by week more countries will be added to this list and that on the first of July all the other local airports will start receiving more visitors mainly with charters.

The tourism ministry on Friday announced the list of countries for which Greece’s borders will be “open” from June 15, with flights permitted to land in Athens and Thessaloniki. In detail, the list of countries is as follows:

Albania, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, and Finland.

The list of 29 countries was drawn up after a study of the epidemiological profile of the countries of origin of tourists and after taking into account Thursday’s announcements of the European Air Safety Agency (EASA), as well as the relevant proposal of the Infectious Disease Committee. For the whole article click below.
Greece opens its borders

Bus stop Limnonari

Protected from the sun and with a nice bench is this bus stop on the crossing to Limnonari

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(Skopelos today, early in the morning with a cloudy sky..)

Not all bars and restaurants on Skopelos opened today but many made an effort. It is good to see. I will show photo’s in the coming days of places you know and love. It were mainly locals drinking a coffee today because we don’t have visitors from abroad yet. We also see that Greeks from the mainland with shops and businesses came to Skopelos and are opening their places too.

After my message yesterday there were many comments (on Facebook) about whether you would, could, should come to Greece or not. Greece will have visitors from abroad coming accordingly to the timeline the Greek government has set. It is a done deal. I think it is safe to say that the Greeks and the people from Skopelos want people to visit and spend money, because they need it. A big part of Greece relies heavily on tourism.

I don’t think it is good to start judging people who want to travel to Greece in general and in particular to Skopelos. Everybody should have the right to make the decision whether they want to come or not. I think most people will keep in mind not to travel if they have symptoms that might indicate they have the virus and that during the their stay they should avoid being in big crowds and keep social distancing in place.

It is their choice though and be sure that they will be welcomed with “open arms”. When you can visit Greece depends on the country you come from. If your country has many casualties it will probably take longer and there might be a obligatory 14 days quarantine when you return to your country. That might be lifted by the time you start travelling because the amount of casualties per day has declined. It is all up to the governement of your country.

I think that the decisiveness, openess and the speaking with one voice of the Greek governement will help businesses and visitors to comply to the rules that have been implemented and it will make visitors feel safe to travel and holiday in Greece. For all kinds of business there are different protocols that should be followed and in general there is a healthy discussion possible about it. The rules will be checked for everybody’s sake and fines will be given when nessecary.

The Greek goverment has said that it wants to help out everybody and help re-start the economy. Mistakes have been made because so much is unknown and new rules and directives are implemented, adjusted and changed accordingly to results and experience. I think there is a general feeling that everybody wants to get on with it.

In the meantime on Skopelos, a lot of repairs and work have been going on. Kastro area, the square, the stairs going up en the surrounding area got a facelift. Stone walls repaied and built, the electricity on the square and along the staircase up is being re-newed and a waterpoint is being installed. I will show more of other work in the coming days.

Athens airport has released the guidelines that incoming passengers to Greece should follow. I have put them on my corona page. I think the same will apply for the other airports that will re-open in July.

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found today on the road to Glossa

Tomorrow on Skopelos but also in the rest of Greece, coffee places, taverna’s and restaurants will open their doors and customers can take place in newly arranged areas. The tables and chairs of one group of customers will be placed next to another table and chairs with at least 1,5 meter in between them.

What I understand is that the extra space that is needed within a business because the tables and chairs are further apart, can be taken from areas around the terrace (if there is space).

The Greek organization for food control (ΕΦΕΤ) has issued a lengthy information leaflet for all those working in the food industry. It is in Greek but anybody that is interested can ask me for it. Owners and employees of businesses will have to follow the new rules that have been set by the Greek government.

Organized beach bars will open on Skopelos and in the rest of Greece but the general rule will be that no alcohol can be served and no music will be played.
The general directive is not to get together in big groups with people you do not know, no dancing etc.

When visiting shops please take care and look how many people are already inside. There is a maximum of customers that can go inside. Some shops will have cards and when they are given out you need to wait outside.

Greece will be welcoming international flights from June 15, initially only at Athens International Airport. From July 1, all other Greek airports (including Skiathos and Volos) will be open to flights from abroad. There have been announcements from charter organizations that will start flying from the first of July.

Travelling with boats and buses can be cheaper because the VAT will go from 24% to 13%.

According to mr. Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, Greece’s visitors will undergo sample tests when required and must abide by the country’s general health protocols (to be announced soon), which however “will not cast a shadow over our bright sun or natural beauty”.

It was announced that Greece’s incoming tourists will not need to have a corona virus test prior to travel nor will they be quarantined after arrival.

Source: skopelosnews and GTP travel pages

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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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