Greek Passenger Ferries to Resume Nationwide Service May 18



In one more sign of the country returning to normalcy, passenger ferry service will resume throughout Greece on Monday, May 18.

However, new guidelines include requiring passengers to wear face masks and to follow social distancing practices.

These guidelines will remain in place until June 15, after which they may be relaxed.

The measures were agreed upon during meetings chaired by Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis, along with Secretary-General for Public Health Panagiotis Prezerakos, the expert scientific committee on infectious diseases and Ministry officials.

“In close cooperation with scientists, we succeeded… in having a very low number of coronavirus incidents on our islands. Now we are planning the way forward for ferry travel, step by step, with rules and guidelines aimed at the protection of passengers and crews, as well as the public’s health on every island.

“The further lifting of restrictive measures will be constantly examined, and depends entirely on ourselves and whether we are consistent in following the measures,” noted Plakiotiakis.

The new regulations call for passengers to maintain a distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) between each other during embarkation and disembarkation; allowing only one person per cabin; the mandatory use of face masks for both passengers and crew; and dispersing passengers so they do not occupy adjacent seats. Additionally, for passengers on international (Greece-Italy) routes, they also include the taking of temperatures when boarding, along with the submission of statements of health before departure.

Other rules stipulate that private and commercial vessels coming from foreign countries — except cruise ships — will be permitted to dock at Greek marinas, shipyards or ports if they do not carry passengers, and comply with specific health measures as well as obtaining the permission of local port authorities.

Vessels hailing from countries where coronavirus lockdown measures still apply will not be allowed to approach Greek ports.