Coronavirus in Santorini – The Latest

Last Update: May 26th, 2020. Santorini is still covonavirus (Covid-19) free. A couple of suspicious cases have tested negative. I update this post daily. Stay tuned and drop me a message via e-mail or at the comments section below if you have any questions. 

The Greek government has just announced that all-year hotels will open on June 1st. Depending on when air and sea links are restored, and if conditions allow, seasonal hotels will operate from the end of June or start in early July.  Currently, the Greek Ministry of tourism is working on the tourism sanitation protocols.

Also, on May 2nd, two of the biggest hotels in Santorini announced that they won’t open for the 2020 season due to very low occupancy rates and high operating costs. 

The impact of the Coronavirus in Santorini | Photos Before and After

coronavirus impact santorini
The impact to the local economy is tremendous.

Santorini looks like an abandoned place after the general lockdown that was announced by the Greek government. All the hotels on the island are now closed, and only residents can travel to Santorini. The restrictions are being applied without exceptions. The police are issuing tickets to everyone who doesn’t have specific permission to go outside. During the Greek Orthodox Easter, even the very religious Greek people are not allowed to attend church services in order to avoid the spread of the infection.

We are all scared and praying for the future. We all know that any case of Coronavirus could put the locals’ lives in danger. Unfortunately, Santorini is away from well-equipped health centers and many of the airlines have suspended most of their domestic flights. Thankfully the local doctors are all up to the task and the local hospital is taking all the necessary measures to fight the coronavirus should it arrive.  As of today, there are no cases of coronavirus in Santorini. We are all following the government’s advice to keep ourselves healthy and safe. In addition to that, we are sending a clear worldwide message that Santorini will remain a safe destination thanks to the hard efforts of its people. 

Unfortunately Mykonos has reported a few coronavirus case for 2020. All the construction and maintenance projects are shut down there. It still remains a mystery how an old lady from Mykonos has caught the virus since she hasn’t travel anywhere recently. The local authorities are now tracing her contacts to prevent the spread of the virus. The patient who is in critical condition due to the Covid-19 has been transferred from the health center of Mykonos by helicopter to a well-equipped hospital in Athens.

From the other side, the impact to the local economy of Santorini is already tremendous. Thousands of people have lost their jobs. Tourism had been a life savior for millions of Greeks after the country’s bailout a few years ago.  Now all the Airbnb apartments and accommodations are empty. All Santorini tours and activities are shutdown. Greece has closed its ports to all cruise ships to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19). Thousands of Greek families that were depending on the cruise ship industry have now no source of income. They are not all rich here and the future is unknown.

Every year, Santorinian’s spend millions of euros to get ready for the tourist season. What travelers are not aware of, is that the maintenance costs of the properties here are extremely high. The all-year round moisture rots everything from the vehicles to the houses. The white-washed homes that everyone admires require thousands of euros to paint them every year. Being a remote island, makes things even more expensive because of the transportation costs from and to the mainland.

This time last year, the island was already full of life. Now there is nothing outside but cats and dogs. Thankfully the local people are still taking care of the homeless animals. Most of the destination weddings are being postponed for later this year or for 2021. Aspiring brides and the local wedding industry remain optimistic that couples will eventually walk down the aisle in 2020. Entrepreneurs still hope that at some point the virus will get under control and tourism will return.

Following the worldwide situation, the paths of Oia that used to be full of tourists, are now empty and extremely quiet. You can hear only the wind. The emblematic blue domed churches, where everybody used to take pictures at, are now alone and mostly abandoned.  The crowded spots where people were queuing for a life-time picture couldn’t be emptier. Now access is not allowed there, even for the residents.

I went for a walk in Oia right before the government announcing the strict measures. Below you can see some picture displays of how Santorini looked before the coronavirus crisis and how it looks now. We all hope for the best.

Please stay healthy and we look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful Santorini someday in the nearby future.

If you have any questions or need any clarification from a local, don’t hesitate to drop me a message via e-mail or via the comments section below.

Thanks,

Kristo Di Giorio

April 23rd update: The Greek government has just announced that Greece will start to loose some of the restrictions from May 4th, 2020. But we still don’t know the precise plan yet. I will keep you posted.

But there is still hope. The Greek people are waiting patiently for the end of the pandemic. The first who will arrive to Santorini will enjoy a silent, yet amazing place like the one shown below. We are all looking forward to welcome you in Greece.

silent santorini coronavirus

About the author: Kristo di Giorio is a local Greek photographer and head photographer of Studio Kristo.

This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Walter/Linda

    Thanks for sharing, it is very sad We’ve always enjoyed the pics of Santorini, so serene and picturesque. Hopefully the goodness of this town will return double fold. Hi to our precious granddaughter. Be safe and be well.

  2. Avatar
    Lenore

    Wow you guys are really doing an amazing job wish I could say the same fir us. God bless you and continue doing what you do hope to visit there in the near future keep up the good work miss you cuddy stay safe and be well.

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hello Lenore,
      Thanks for your beautiful wishes. We couldn’t be better and you are more than welcome to visit us. I bet that you will love Greece! Lot’s of love, Kristo

  3. Avatar
    Lisa Merritt

    Kristo,

    Thanks for the pictures as well as the updates my child, at least you guys are being proactive and doing what you must to stay safe. A time like this you wish your love ones were more close so that you can keep a eye out on them, Unfortunately a child grows into an adult and they must fly their wings, and be happy, please stay safe and I love you.

    Mom

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hi Lisa,
      It’s amazing how well Greece has made it so far. We remain vigilant though because we don’t want our country to become the new epidemic center. We are a very safe destination, with healthy delicious food, clean air and looking forward to welcoming you soon in our Paradise. Cheers, Kristo.

    2. Avatar
      Sharon

      Thank you for posting this.
      The pictures tell a huge story.
      We were coming in June, a true bucket list trip, but we will visit when it is safe for all.
      Take care and good health to all of you in Santorini
      X

  4. Avatar
    ADRIA

    Kristo, you must be proud the way the government is managing the situation is for your own health. I know it is a very difficult time for all. Here in Puerto Rico, we are also on quarentine. But we are having a lot of new cases each day. I pray and have faith that this will pass. Santorini will shine again.

    It has being my lifetime dream vacation! I already had plans to visit santorini on September 2020, but i will wait until the time is right.

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hi Adria, I’m so sorry to hear that about the awe Puerto Rico. It’s such a beautiful country and one of my bucket list destinations. Please take care of yourself and your beloved ones. We will take our lives back soon. I will keep updating this post with accurate official information. All the best, Kristo.

  5. Avatar
    ADRIA

    Kristo. I know it is a very difficult time for all. Here in Puerto Rico, we are also on quarentine. Contrary of Santorini we are having a lot of new cases each day. I pray that this will pass soon. Santorini and the world will shine again.

    It has being my lifetime dream vacation! I already had plans to visit Santorini on September 2020, but i will wait until the time is right.

  6. Avatar
    Ken and aileen

    Kristo I wish our government had reacted so efficiently to the covid 19 risks to life .
    We are praying lockdown is lifted and we can come back to your paradise .
    We are booked for end of June unsure if it will happen but fingers crossed .
    Keep safe regards Ken &aileen x

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hi Ken and Aileen, thanks for visiting my website. Santorini is more beautiful than ever today. From May 4th, Greece will gradually start opening the businesses. We still don’t have a clear picture about the hotels and the flights though. The good news is that yesterday, on April 22nd, only 7 new cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in Greece and non of them were in Santorini. The island has an international airport and direct flights should not be a problem at some point. I will keep you in the loop via this blog post. Feel free to share online this article to inform our guests who are planning a visit to Santorini. Lot’s of love, Kristo.

  7. Avatar
    R&A

    Hi Kristo,

    I hope you are well, thanks for posting this information. My wife and I visited Santorini last summer and loved the place so much we immediately booked up again this year. We are not due back until the end of August so hopefully things may be better by then. I have been watching what the Greek government have been doing and they have put us in the U.K. to shame. We live in Scotland, another beautiful country which relies heavily on tourism. I dread to think of the impact this virus will have had.

    If possible could you update on whether there have been any coronavirus cases in Santorini yet, fingers crossed there hasn’t.

    Wishing you the best & hope to be there in August.

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hello Guys,
      Thanks so much for your comment. As of today, April 23rd, there are still no reported cases of the COVID-19 in Santorini. However, we are still under curfew until May 4th. The opening of the businesses will be gradually though. Based on unofficial sources of the Greek media, the hotels will start opening again around mid June, but nothing is official yet. I will keep updating this post, so feel free to share it with your friends. We are all looking forward to welcoming you in Greece.

      1. Avatar
        R&A

        Good to hear from you Kristo and I hope you are well.
        Thank you for the update, things seem to be moving in a positive way in Greece which Is great news.
        Hopefully the U.K. will start removing our lockdown soon and flights will recommence. Fingers crossed.
        Please keep updating if you can.

  8. Avatar
    Jules Plant

    I visit Santorini every year in the Autumn when the island starts getting quieter, but the sun is still shining. I hope to one day be able to stay to live and not have to return home! Such a beautiful and friendly place, hopefully this autumn the island will be waking up again rather than getting quieter.
    I’m glad I’ve stumbled across your page, I will bookmark to keep up to date.
    Stay safe x

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hello Jules,
      Thanks for dropping by. Autumn is the best season to visit Santorini. It’s not crowded and travelers enjoy better services comparing to the high season. Not to mention the prices and the best sunsets. Don’t miss your chance this year. We already miss our guests and can’t wait to host you again. Stay safe and tuned! :-), Love, Kristo

  9. Avatar
    doug bermingham

    Hi Kristo – glad Santorini has been able to avoid this pandemic to date. Stay safe. We are planning a family sailing trip in late June. Picking up boat in Mykonos and dropping in Santorini. We have been planning this trip for 2 years and are hopeful it will happen. What are your thoughts of likelyhood of trip? Pls keep updating your blog with latest developments.

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hi Doug and thank you for your comment.
      Sailing is a fantastic way to explore the Greek isles. The good news is that there are no current cases of Covid-19 in Mykonos. On Tuesday we are expecting announcements from the Prime Minister regarding the gradual lift of restrictions here in Greece. I will be sure to keep my blog updated with recent information in a timely fashion.
      Every 1-2 weeks the governement will evaluate the effectiveness of the gradual lifts and will decide accordingly. We must protect ourselves and our future guests. If all goes well, in late June most of the businesses should be allowed to operate. However, we don’t know the specifics regarding the restrictions that they will be allowed to open under (ex-the maximum capacity to achieve social distancing).
      The main problem is that the European Union has not yet agreed on a common plan about how the international flights will work. Some countries prefer to make mutual agreements while others recommend health passports and specific entrance protocols. My personal recommendation about your trip, is that if you could postpone for 1-2 months without loosing your money, it would be a much safer and less stressful option.

  10. Avatar
    Nam

    I am from Vietnam, i plan to visit Santorini and Mykonos on July 2020. Do you think it is safe to travel on July?

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hi Nam, nice to e-meet you here. Vietnam has one of the most effective responses to covid-19. Congratulations to your people. Regarding your concerns about your safety in Greece, at the moment both Mykonos and Santorini are very safe destinations. From the other side, we still don’t know much about the ferry schedules. Some people doubt that they will operate normally. To be more precise, the majority of the fast ferries that connect Mykonos and Santorini, have no or very small docks, and all travelers are closed in. This is not necessarily bad and social distancing could be achieved if the ferries would operate with limited capacity. But due to the high operating costs, we still don’t know if the companies will remain economically viable. It’s definitely a tough puzzle. Soon we will have a clearer picture of the situation. I will let you know as soon as we have anything official. Best Wishes, Kristo

      1. Avatar
        Nam

        Hi Kristo,
        I have read newspaper, it says hotel closing until 31 May and open on 1st June. It that right?

        1. Avatar
          kristo

          Hello Nam, only the year-around hotels are opening on June 1st. The seasonal hotels are scheduled to open on July 1st. Only a few international flights are still operating though. All travelers arriving to Greece from international destinations are being checked for the covid-19. If they test positive, they are still being placed under quarantine for 14 days. Some of the domestic flights are expected to resume from May 18th though.
          Also, we still don’t know how many hotels are going to open for the season.

  11. Avatar
    Joe

    Hi Kristo,

    You mentioned that two of the biggest hotels have announced they will not be opening. Do you know what the names of the hotels were?

    Thanks

    Joe

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hello Joe, I don’t remember their names, sorry. But I strongly advise you to stay constantly in touch with your hotel in Santorini to know if they are planning to open this year. If they decide to remain closed, they will most likely move you to another similar hotel. Many Thanks, Kristo

  12. Avatar
    Giuseppe

    Good morning.
    Thank you for your initiative.
    We (my wife and me) booked a flight from Rome to Mykonos at 29 th june e, then, we would like to go to Santorini.
    What about update news in terms of greek government’s decision about opening of hotels, air transportations and sea links, tourism sanitation protocols ? Even if Italy opens its borders….
    Thank you for your kind reply.

    Giuseppe

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hi Giuseppe, the government has announced the recommended sanitation protocols, but they haven’t been voted from the parliament yet. The government is still in discussions with the hotel owners to finalize them. The protocols are pretty strict, but applicable. Currently the ferries can sail only with 50 percent of their maximum passenger capacity, but we expect it to change closer to the high season. The good news is that all flights are allowed to fly with full capacity and I assume that soon the same will happen with the ferries. Also, for now, only private transportation services can operate for airport pick ups. Thanks again, Kristo

  13. Avatar
    Kathy Flanagan

    Kristo,
    I just found your site and am so pleased to have news of Santorini. We spend every September there in Kamari and are hoping to come again this year. It looks as though Americans are being denied access, is this true? The most important thing is to keep the island safe, but I would like to come. I was also hoping to explore Crete for the first time in October. What do you think? Thank you, Kathy

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hello Kathy, thanks for your message. The government is expecting a list from the epidemiologists containing the countries that will be allowed to send tourists in Greece. Currently, there are only rumors, and I believe that the United States won’t be included in the first “wave” of the whitelisted countries. The list will be constantly being updated though depending on the spread of the virus. At a later time and if we hear good news from America, we will definitely open our borders. Americans are among our best clients after all. I’m positive about your October visit. Love, Kristo

  14. Avatar
    Andy

    Hi
    How likely do think it’ll be that Santorini will be open to Uk visitors in early August?
    Thanks

    1. Avatar
      kristo

      Hey Andy, Greece is currently opening it’s borders to all countries that have a similar-to-Greece low number of cases. If you keep up the good work, I presume that we will be open to UK travelers in August. Santorini has a well equipped hospital, but don’t forget that it’s a remote island. It would be very risky to allow thousands of tourists to travel to Santorini from countries that are still experiencing a large number of coronavirus cases. So, everything is up to you guys. You are more than welcome to visit us. The earlier you beat the virus, the better for all of us. Take care, Kristo

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