In Greece, tourism is among the most important sectors of the economy. But in the midst of the 2021 summer season, the seven-day incidence in the most popular resorts is on the rise, and with it come new restrictions for vacationers.
Currently, as of Tuesday, July 20, 2021, the incidence in Greece is 175.3, 1834 new Covid-19-related infections have been reported, and eight people have died in Greece. The result: bookings are cancelled or not made at all, quite a few vacationers pack their bags and leave.And the new restrictions in Greece* have it all. On the island of Mykonos, for example, infected people are sleeping on the beach. There, the government has imposed a strict ban on going out. Bars and restaurants are closed at 1:00 a.m. at the latest. Dancing is completely banned in bars and discos throughout the country. Violations will result in severe penalties such as fines or even the revocation of licenses for disco and bar operators.
The measures are to take effect initially for one week. Entrepreneurs and restaurateurs, however, rather assume that the rule could last until at least the end of July. "The party now continues in the private sector. Beach parties no longer take place," a voice is quoted as saying by Focus Online. Vacationers would switch to the neighboring islands.
The consequence: quite a few tourists cancel their vacation, some try their luck on a neighboring island, where the Corona measures are not yet so strict. The focus is apparently on the party stronghold of Santorini.But also there threaten in the coming days restrictions due to the ever higher infection numbers with Sars Cov-2 new Corona measures. For Naxos, Crete, Milos, Ios and Paros, the health authority also wants to impose further measures. Already from Thursday, July 22, 2021, a new lockdown could come.
Greece has already issued far-reaching restrictions for its risk areas in recent days to get the infections with the coronavirus under control. For example, a ban on serving the unvaccinated is in effect in these regions. Restaurants and bars, for example, must clearly indicate whether they serve only vaccinated and recovered people.If both groups of guests are allowed, they must be strictly separated from each other. According to media reports, a ban on entering supermarkets from mid-September for the unvaccinated is also being planned.
What do these restrictions mean for my vacation and can I cancel it at all, as in Spain? That's what many people are currently asking themselves and that's what Greek vacationers should know now who have planned a trip to the Aegean in the coming days and weeks.
When booking a trip, it is always advisable to take out travel cancellation insurance. But even here there are some things to consider, because a travel cancellation insurance only takes effect if you can not start the booked trip for an insured reason. This is the case, for example, if a serious and unexpected illness occurs. In this case, the contractually owed cancellation costs are covered. The prerequisite is, of course, that you have taken out the insurance before the illness and in compliance with the deadlines. The presentation of a medical certificate is mandatory.
If the trip has to be canceled, for example due to illness, or if the return trip has to be postponed, the so-called trip cancellation insurance kicks in. This is usually included in a travel cancellation insurance policy. If you have such insurance, you can be reimbursed for any additional costs incurred - for example, for a rebooking. Additional return travel and accommodation costs are also normally covered by this insurance.
Pandemics often not included in travel cancellation insurance policies
But caution is advised if the corona test becomes positive. Many insurers exclude a disease classified as a pandemic by the WHO as a reason for cancellation or withdrawal from the outset. It is therefore worth taking a second look at the fine print of the general terms and conditions.However, anyone who wants to cancel a vacation purely out of fear or concern about infection should be warned. In these cases, the travel cancellation insurance does not cover the cancellation. A travel warning issued by the German Foreign Office is also not considered an insured event, so the insurance does not usually cover it either. This also applies if, for example, there is an entry ban for certain nationalities.
If you have booked a package tour, you can generally always cancel. However, it should be noted that the tour operator can, of course, charge a cancellation fee. As a rule, package tours can only be canceled free of charge if the journey or the execution of the trip is significantly impaired. According to the ADAC, this exists if, for example, there is a general ban on entry to the booked location or trains no longer run.
The general rule with these insurances is: If you want to report a claim, you have the burden of proof. This means that you have to prove yourself that the insurance is valid. In the case of a package tour, it can also be helpful to contact the organizer. There may be a possibility that an amicable solution can be found - such as a free rebooking or similar.
It is always possible to withdraw from the trip - without incurring costs - if the organizer makes significant changes to the scope of services or if the trip has significant defects. A defect is, for example, if central sights are closed or the beach is not usable on a beach vacation due to corona measures - as is currently the case in the Catalan part of the country including Barcelona of Spain.However, this must be decided on a case-by-case basis; at best, it is advisable to inquire with the tour operator in advance of the trip. Since Corona has only been rampant for a year and a half, there are not yet many court rulings that can be referred to in this regard.
Photo by Matt Artz