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Greece is preparing to reopen after several months of quarantine, and Crete is right there with it. On May 25 Crete will see people sitting down at cafes and restaurants for the first time since mid-March. There will be limits to the number of people that can be seated in any one establishment, and, if I understand correctly, all, or at least most of, the seating must be outdoors, and tables must be kept a certain distance from one another. I know there is a lot of red tape involved with reopening – my friend Giannis who runs the great Machalas restaurant on the Koum Kapi waterfront (last photo below) has been so busy getting the proper papers filed and signed with the authorities, that his father Dmitris has been left to do much of the preparation for opening. Some people are making family outings of the cleaning, painting, vacuuming and repairing that goes on every year at the beginning of the season. There is a special urgency – and joy – involved in it this year because of the hardships everyone has endured with Covid-19. After Greece pretty much fully reopens for its own population this coming Monday, the next big date with be June 15, when the first tourists from a select list of countries will be allowed to enter to the country. Those countries are: Cyprus, Israel, Germany, China, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Norway. None of the countries that have struggled the most with Covid-19 will be able to come as of yet – among them, the UK, Italy, Spain, Russia and the U.S. At present it would appear that residents of those countries may be able to visit Greece beginning July 15, although changes are still possible in that timetable. Greek airports will open for direct flights from abroad on July 1. I have pulled this information from several sources published in the last day or two. Surely changes will be made in response to real improvement (or otherwise) in the battle with Covid-19 in various countries of the world. But it is now clear that there will be a summer vacation period in Greece this year. There was doubt about that as recently as five to six weeks ago, so this is real progress. In any case, whether you will vacation in Greece or in another country, or if you decide to stay home – take care, be healthy, and please respect everyone’s right to their own space and health!

Photos and text copyright © 2020 John Freedman. If you wish to use any of the photos or any of the text, please ask for permission. I will almost always say “yes,” but please do the courtesy of asking before copying.