Photo: Loulou D’Aki / Bloomberg via Getty Images and Mykonos Live TV
ATHENS – To outbreak COVID-19 among tourists has forced the Greek authorities to impose an overnight curfew and ban music in bars and restaurants in the Mykonos party hotspot.
And while infected tourists fill the islands’ quarantine facilities, sick patients are evicted from their hotels with nowhere else to stay.
The Greek economy relies on tourism for at least a fifth of the country’s GDP, and the government has been reluctant to impose COVID restrictions on tourists this summer to offset the billions of euros lost to international lockdowns last year. But after tens of thousands of European tourists have arrived who were allowed to travel if they were able to present a vaccination certificate or a negative rapid test, a new outbreak threatens the tourist summer season.
On Friday it became clear that the islands themselves were experiencing major eruptions as tourists fell ill and required both medical treatment and alternative housing. Greek coronavirus regulations require those who test positive to notify hotels, which then have the option to refuse to accept infected customers.
But when beds in designated quarantine hotels were filled, people who tested positive that weekend were unable to return to their accommodations or find rooms in designated quarantine facilities, leaving COVID-infected tourists with little choice but to look for food and accommodation to wander across the islands.
The first reports came on Friday as local Mykonos TV reported A teenage Italian tourist had nowhere to go after testing positive for COVID and denied access to the already full quarantine facilities.
By Saturday evening, the teenager had been taken to mainland Greece for treatment. But then reports came that six tourists on the island of Paros showed symptoms on Saturday. After positive COVID tests, they were also banned from their hotel and left in the parking lot of the test facility for more than 16 hours. After local residents complained about the presence of COVID-infected tourists with nowhere to go, at least four of the tourists were eventually brought to the mainland by medical helicopter.
“It has not been a good weekend for the government’s plan to keep the islands open, we are already seeing mass cancellations following reports of homeless sick tourists and the state closure of clubs and parties,” said a Mykonos nightclub manager who does not own theirs Don’t want their institution’s name or name on the news
In response to the outbreaks and devastating public relations failures of sick, homeless teenagers wandering around the tourist islands, the government on Saturday ordered the immediate closure of Mykonos’ famous nightclubs, leaving the island full of frustrated tourists.
“People are canceling their vacation by the hundreds,” said the nightclub manager. “They don’t want to go that far and spend thousands of dollars to find out they can’t party or even go back to their hotel room. It’s kind of a worse disaster than just COVID. “