We hope you are well, coping with the current restrictions and keeping busy and fit in these current circumstances. As the situation with COVID-19 continues across the world you will be thinking about your swim trip to Greece and how this might be affected by the pandemic. The situation in Greece seems quite promising and the new reported infections continue to fall rapidly; there were 4858 reported cases so far (121 new cases since yesterday, some of them from visitors that were tested positive on arrival) and these are largely in the capital and major cities. Official figures are not always updated daily as the spread of the virus is under control and normal life has resumed to a large extend. This is due to the strict measures that were put in place very early by the government resulting in this very slow spread of the virus in comparison to other European countries.
The following measures have been put in place in Greece:
11th March. As with most countries all public and private schools, nurseries, as well as universities, remain closed for an indefinite period as from today; e-learning platforms have been set up. All public indoor gatherings, conferences, meetings etc., are banned for the time being as well as concerts and all sports events. Shopping centres, libraries, coffee shops, museums, sports halls, restaurants, hotels, resorts and even churches are closed and will remain closed until further notice; all but necessary travel has been banned.
22nd March. The Greek authorities announced significant restrictions on movements outside the home for the foreseeable future; this is strictly policed with fines in place. Border closures and flight restrictions are in place.
4th May. Some relaxing of the above strict measures will take place as from today. Some shops will be allowed to open and businesses to operate with social distancing taking place; shops that do not obey this rule will be fined; citizens’ movements will also be relaxed, but travel less so.
11th May. All shops to reopen and conduct business as usual. Masks to be worn by shoppers who will keep social distancing.
16th May. Organised beaches open to bathers with restrictions in place.
25th May. Restaurants, tavernas, cafes and similar places to open as normal, with restrictions in place.
1st June. Schools to reopen.
15th June. Hotels to reopen and Greece is ready to welcome foreign visitors from certain countries; some testing will take place upon arrival. Athens and Thessaloniki International airports to resume flights to and from ‘selected’ countries.
1st July. International flights to resume with most countries as normal. Ministers are trying hard to make travel easy and quarantine-free. Certain countries are excluded but negotiations are taking place daily to make travel from/to all countries viable.
TRAVEL Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has put forward proposals for further bilateral talks and the development of protocols that will allow holidaymakers from certain countries that have contained the virus, to travel safely.
There is also an ongoing discussion at an European level to determine the ways in which European citizens will be allowed to go on vacations this year.
The situation is monitored closely and updated daily by the Greek government. For more updated info on Greece visit (or your own country’s equivalent government site): https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece/health
The spread of the virus seems to be under control in Greece and the situation in the four different islands where The Big Blue operates is as follows:
Lefkada: virus free
Ithaca: virus free
Sfakia in Crete: virus free
Santorini: virus free
Therefore, it is anticipated that our swim trips will go ahead in all our destinations.
All swim trips in Lefkada have now been rescheduled.
All swim trips in Ithaca have now been rescheduled.
Some swim trips in Crete are running during September as planned.
Some swim trips in Santorini are running as planned.
If the situation changes we will let you know via an email, but we all remain optimistic that most of the season will run as normal. The Big Blue Swim are monitoring the situation daily and in particular with reference to the UK and Greece. Due to our family connections on the Greek islands we have information readily to hand related to travel and advice given by the Greek government. There are also official sites where you can get updates on travel information and this is one of them:
Our newly-launched 1 week-long Swimrun camp in May has recently been cancelled by us and will be re-advertised soon for May 2021.
IMPORTANT Please make sure that you have adequate travel insurance in place when you book your flights (please read our T&Cs – under TERMS) (https://thebigblueswim.com/terms “Terms”); although a percentage of the deposit for your swim trip will be refunded or the choice of an alternative swim week offered in 2020 or 2021 dependent on availability, we cannot reimburse any travel expenses you might have incurred if any of our swim trips are cancelled.
REVISED CANCELLATION POLICY Due to the unprecedented nature of world current affairs and in view of the fact that governments operate different policies regarding the welfare of their citizens, we have slightly altered our cancellation policy to make it fairer to swimmers and assist you as much as possible in these difficult times. Although our swims are going ahead as planned as of this date, if a swimmer cancels or The Big Blue postpones a trip, then either 65% of deposit will be refunded, or 100% of the deposit credited to either a later swim this summer (providing there is availability) or to a swim during 2021.
This revised cancellation policy is effective for all The Big Blue Swim trips that take place up to the end of September 2020.
The above take immediate effect and will be reviewed on a weekly basis. The rest of T&Cs and our insurance policy are still in effect. We all hope that soon enough normality can be resumed and we will look forward to seeing you out in Greece for a great swimming experience.
Michael, Lisa and The Big Blue Team