The impact of the Coronavirus in Santorini | Photos Before and After
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. As we are getting closer to 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, March 26th, 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.
From the other side, the impact to the local economy 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.
Kristo Di Giorio
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.
About the author: Kristo di Giorio is a local Greek photographer and head photographer of Studio Kristo.