Hoping to lure tourists, Greece reopens beaches

Sun, sea and social distancing.

Greece reopened its beaches on Saturday (May 8) as the popular Mediterranean holiday destination eased restrictions in preparation for the return of foreign visitors next week.

Tourism accounts for about a fifth of Greece's economy and jobs, and - after the worst year on record for the industry - the country can't afford another lost summer.

Nikos Venieris manages a beach in the seafront suburb of Alimos, just outside of Athens.

"We are hoping that a lot of people will come and feel safe here at our beach, and we are pinning our hopes on tourism. We still don't know yet how many tourists will come this year, but we depend on tourists, we are one of the places along the Athens riviera as it's called, which receives many tourists so the number of visitors from abroad will play a big role in our finances."

Under the current measures umbrellas need to be placed at least 13 feet apart and regular disinfections carried out.

As infections have fallen and vaccinations gathered pace across the country, authorities have steadily eased restrictions, opening bars and restaurants earlier this week.

On Friday (May 7), they announced that museums would reopen next week before the lifting of travel restrictions on vaccinated foreign visitors on May 15.

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