Travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Are you currently a Belgian stranded abroad? We do everything we can to find a solution together with you. Check out what you can do yourself: https://diplomatiebe.tappable.dev
For further questions, you can contact us by email at Athens@diplobel.fed.be or by phone at +30 210 361 78 87. Also keep an eye on our Facebook page.
As Minister Goffin pointed out in his letter of 17 March, we have to cope with exceptional circumstances and some patience is sometimes required. We thank you in advance for your understanding.
Our team is committed to assist you. By registering on Travellers Online, you will be kept informed of possible options for returning to Belgium, including commercial flights.
For flights chartered by a country other than Belgium under the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, please note that the number of seats available for Belgian citizens is the exclusive competence of the State that organized this flight. If there are not enough seats for all Belgians who wish to return, priority will be given to the most vulnerable compatriots (health, serious conditions) or those who travel with very young children.
If you have to stay abroad for a longer period than expected, please note that in many countries there are Belgian expats who share useful tips or temporary solutions in the #Belgiansforeachother group.
COVID-19: EXTENSION OF THE LOCKDOWN IN GREECE
The second lockdown which took effect on Saturday, November 7 and was in effect until November 30 has been extended until 7th January 2021. This lockdown is similar to the one that took place last spring between March 23 and May 4. On November 16, all other school establishments (crèches, primary schools) were closed. From now on they will apply distance learning.
An additional information number was set up, 1520 (also for reporting restriction violation)
More specifically, the government has adopted the following restrictions:
a. Local movement restrictions
The lockdown introduced since November 7 is similar to the previous one in that the latter aims to prohibit non-essential movements, under penalty of a fine of € 300. In addition, each vehicle for private or public use may drive with up to two persons on board: the driver plus a maximum of one person (children not included).
A curfew between 9pm and 5am/ from 13 December between 10 pm and 5 am was also imposed.
Outside movements are only allowed for the following specific reasons and must be requested by SMS :
1 To go to a pharmacy or a doctor, the latter by appointment only;
2 To go to a supermarket or grocery store when home delivery is not an option;
3 To go to the bank if an online transaction is not possible;
4 To provide assistance to people in need or accompany children to / from school;
5 To attend a funeral or for divorced/separated parents to visit their children;
6 To exercise outdoors or walk a pet - up to two people, as long as a distance of 1.5 meters is observed.
When outside, citizens must be in the possession of their identity card or passport, as well as supporting documents confirming the reason for his or her trip, drawn up according to one of the following forms:
. Form A: for work-related movement, an employer certificate that is completed once with the exact timetable and is valid for all daily movements to and from work
. Form B: for all other movements, the persons concerned must always complete a special form that can be obtained:
. either via the website: forma.gov.gr
. or by sending a (free) SMS to the number: 13033 (it only works from Greek telephone numbers)
In the frame of the SMS system, mobile phone users must text the toll-free number 13033 with the number related to one of the six approved reasons for leaving home, followed by their name and address.
b. Travel ban between prefectures
To avoid an overflow of people seeking refuge in their country retreat, any movement outside the prefecture of the main residence is prohibited. There are four exceptions to this rule:
. returning to the permanent residence (Civil Protection has made it clear that it allows a one-way trip from one regional unit to another to return to permanent residence, provided this can be proven on production of a certificate of residence / statement of income).
. family reunification
. professional reasons
. health reasons
The Civil Protection also clarified that travel outside the prefecture of residence will be allowed for foreigners or Greeks living abroad who wish to leave the country by air, upon presentation of the airline ticket.
2. Closure of almost all businesses
The businesses allowed to operate will remain open at the usual times: food stores (supermarkets, bakeries, fish shops, etc.), kiosks, laundromats, pharmacies, gas stations, kiosks, human care and veterinary services, hotels ( even if they have the right to stop operations), pet shops, opticians and hearing aid shops (by appointment only), telephone shops (for repair, purchase or renewal of subscription, payment of bills, etc.) and electronic equipment with a home delivery service.
As of December 13, the businesses not included in the list below may reopen using the "click & collect" method, i.e. allow online orders to be picked up at the entrance of the store. However, access to the store is not allowed.
Hairdressers and bookstores can reopen as from December 14 (as long as health measures are respected)
In addition, electronic commerce services (e-commerce) or home delivery (e-shop, etc.) may continue to operate. It is also allowed to buy to take away ("take away"), provided this purchase is not the only movement reason. Open air markets are allowed, but with the application of additional measures, ie with a maximum turnout limited to 50%, the operation of several markets at the same time to avoid crowds, and a distance of 5 meters between stalls.
Unless the sanitary situation would get worse in the coming weeks, the government announced the reopening from 7 January of the following institutions : educational establishments, restaurants, bars / cafes, ski stations, sports clubs and courts.
Wearing a mask
Wearing a mask is mandatory for everybody as from the age of 12, both outside and in indoor areas where several people gather together.
Access to the Greek territory
As from 7 November, anyone entering the country by air will have to submit a negative PCR test performed less than 72 hours prior to arrival in the Greek territory (regardless of the country of origin).
In addition, travelers arriving by sea or land transport will have to submit a negative PCR test that is less than 72 hours old. A PLF form must be completed by all travelers entering but also leaving the country at least 24 hours before travel via the website http://travel.gov.gr.
The conditions will remain unchanged between December 18, 2020 and January 7, 2021, but all travelers entering Greek territory will also be systematically submitted to a rapid test and a 3-day quarantine.
CYPRUS - NEW RESTRICTIVE MEASURES
Due to the significant increase rate of COVID-19 contaminations, the Cypriot authorities adopted a new package of measures to complement the previous one of 27 November. These measures come into effect as from 11 December and are expected to apply until December 31.
The main new measures are as follows:
a. Movements and gatherings
- Curfew: Introduction of a strict curfew from 9 pm to 5 am. Only movements for professional (in possession of certificate) or medical (consultation, hospitalization, treatment or pharmacy) reasons and hunting (as defined by law) are allowed.
- Limitation of 2 persons for gatherings in public places (excl. minors).
- Limitation to a maximum of 10 people for home gatherings (including wedding and baptism banquets), as well as family religious ceremonies (marriage, baptisms).
- Religious services will be held in the absence of the faithful
- Prohibition of all collective mass gatherings in public places, including demonstrations.
- Personal visits: ban on visits to hospitals, clinics, medical establishments, retirement and care homes.
b. Opening / closing of public and private establishments
- Education: From December 14, high schools and higher education institutions will practice distance education, while kindergartens, primary and middle schools will continue to operate normally.
- Catering: The activity of catering establishments is limited to take-away orders and home deliveries. From the opening until 9.00 am, only people over 65 (and the disabled) will be served. From 9 p.m., only deliveries are allowed (except in hotels).
- Entertainment: suspension of activities in cinemas, theaters (open-air and indoor), shopping malls and casinos. Nightclubs, music halls and amusement parks remain closed.
- Sport: Closure of sports halls, swimming pools (except for therapeutic use), parks and play areas.
- Markets: Capacity limitation to 50% for external markets (unless sanitary rules are respected).
- Ports: suspension of access to Cypriot ports for cruise ships. Only commercial activities are authorized for the ports of Lemesos and Larnaca.
- Events: suspension of conferences, fairs and exhibitions.
- Migration: quarantine imposed on reception centers for asylum seekers
On the other hand, courts’ activities are not suspended.
Medium term measures
The second medium-term package, which will apply from 5 to 15 January, provides for the following restrictions:
1. Culture: Regulations concerning the operation of cinemas, theaters and indoor and outdoor theaters at 50% of their capacity remain in force.
2. Conferences: Limitation of attendance at conferences, meetings and / or events to a maximum of 250 people in indoor conference rooms, in compliance with the protocol of social distance. Breaks or coffee / snack / cocktail breaks during the event are not allowed.
3. Vulnerable persons: shops selling drinks and food products (supermarkets, mini markets, butchers, etc.) and pharmacies are only accessible to vulnerable people over 65 from the opening hour until 9 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
4. Masks: the wearing of masks by the population of 12 years and older will be mandatory in indoor and outdoor areas.
5. Weddings and Baptisms: Cocktails and welcome ceremonies are not permitted from November 13, 2020 to January 15, 2021. Physical presence is only allowed for lunch or dinner, with a maximum number of participants set at 150 people (maximum 6 people per table).
It should be noted that the authorities have also taken even more stringent measures (closure of sports halls and children's playgrounds, ban on collective sports activities under the age of 18) in the worst affected districts of Lemesos and Paphos, applicable from 5 to 16 November.
Recommendations regarding the workplace
The authorities have imposed a number of restrictions to reduce the number of workers in their workplace and thus limit their exposure to the virus:
1. Teleworking: Where possible, promote working from home with priority to those belonging to the vulnerable groups of the population.
2. Limitation of interactions: separation between colleagues, to avoid contacts, with different working hours (rotation) and / or physical separation. It is therefore recommended to avoid meeting gatherings, and prefer virtual meetings and teleconferences and minimize the number of visitors from outside.
Conditions of entry to the Cypriot territory
The conditions of entry into the Cypriot territory (Republic of Cyprus) have not changed. Access depends on the classification assigned to the country of origin. The different countries are divided into three categories based on epidemiological criteria (A, B and C). Belgium was relegated to category C.
While for List A passengers, completing a PLF form is the only formality, passengers from countries on List B can only enter Cypriot territory if they also present a negative PCR test performed less than 72 hours before boarding (since June 20). For travelers from countries on list C (including Belgium), only essential journeys are allowed.