France, Greece Begin Easing COVID Protocols

More and more countries are dialing back their COVID-19-related travel and safety protocols. Earlier this week, Iceland lifted all public restrictions, while St. Lucia and Barbados in the Caribbean added new testing methods to make it easier to visit each island; even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed many of its COVID-era policies, including its guidance on mask-wearing indoors.

Continuing the slew of announcements, France’s prime minster, Jean Castex, said that the country on Monday, March 14 would scrap rules on masks and vaccine passes. According to France’s The Local, vaccine passes—used for entry to venues such as bars, restaurant, tourist sites and ski lifts—will no longer be required. At the same time, masks will no longer be requires indoors, with the exception of public transport, medical establishments and care homes. Private businesses will still be able to make mask-wearing a condition of entry.

According to The New York Times, average daily COVID cases in France have gone down 48 percent over the last two weeks. The country is still averaging over 53,000 new cases daily (79 per 100,000) with over 168 deaths per day. Sev

Greece, on the other hand, announced it will no longer require a Passenger Locator Form for visitors starting March 15. According to Greek Travel Pages, Minister for Tourism Vasilis Kikilias said the decision refocuses the effort on vaccination status. In addition, holders of the European Union Digital COVID Certificate, as well as holders of certificates that are compatible with the E.U. system (such as those from the U.S., Canada and Australia) no longer need to take a test for COVID-19 before their trip to Greece.

As of Saturday, March 5, mask-wearing indoors in Greece will no longer be mandatory, while tourist bus capacity will be raised to 100 percent.

According to The Times, Greece’s average daily COVID cases are down 20 percent in the last 14 days (14,400 new cases daily; 134 per 100,000). It is averaging nearly 62 deaths per day per 100, with 70 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

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