“I get one deregistration after another,” says the Dutch hotel owner Oona Giesen, now that travel advice orange applies to Greek islands. She has a hotel on the Greek island of Paros. “Everyone here is dependent on tourism. I organize yoga holidays and normally September is a good month. I find it ridiculous and scaremongering,” she says in the CCeit Radio 1 News.
Yesterday it was announced that the travel advice for the Greek islands will be changed from yellow to orange for all Greek islands. Bad news for holidaymakers about to leave for Greece: code orange means that it is advised to go to Greece only for necessary journeys and not for holiday trips.
“We are sailing on the advice of the RIVM, which has designated the Greek islands as a covid-risk area. That advice applies to all the islands,” explains a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Big and small islands
The RIVM looks at factors such as infection rates, test policies, measures and makes a decision based on these, the RIVM in turn explains. “We make no distinction here between the large and small islands,” says the spokesperson. “Britain does, but we don’t.” Only the islands of Lesbos, Crete, Mykonos, Zakynthos, Tinos, Santorini and Serifos are subject to quarantine in Great Britain on their return
Moreover, both the RIVM and Foreign Affairs say, the Greek government advises Greeks who travel from a Greek island to the Greek mainland to go into quarantine. This applies to all islands.
Most important for the change in travel advice is that the number of people infected with the virus during their holidays on one of the Greek islands has risen sharply, says the RIVM.
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Hotel owner Giessen doesn’t understand any of this: “We’ve been in lockdown here in Greece for three months and there was no infection on this island.”
Correspondent Conny Keessen also emphasizes that the differences per island are large. “Infections are not increasing everywhere. In places where many young people come, such as Chersonissos, it is indeed not going well. But that certainly doesn’t apply to all islands,” says Keessen. In total there are about 220 Greek islands inhabited.
The Greek government has not yet responded to the travel advice of the Dutch government: “We expect a response from the Ministry of Tourism later today”, Keessen knows. But that doesn’t help Oona Giesen. “There is now panic sown and so it happened.”
Hotel owner Oona Giesen
Giesen is worried about the income of Greeks who are largely dependent on tourism. “I have the feeling that the Dutch government is just bullying Greece.” She is also gloomy about her own financial situation. “I have to learn to fish this winter. I have a child of 13. People here are really afraid of hunger.”