As you can see from today’s photographs, more shops and tavernas are opening up now that there are a few tourists coming over from Rhodes. The bus service has extended its schedule so the last bus is now at 9 p.m. from the harbour, 9.30 p.m. from Pedi. Not quite conducive to a night on the tiles but until there are enough people around to justify running later that’s it. If you are on Symi this summer, think local for your evenings out or reckon on a stroll home under the stars. If you are travelling on the bus, a mask should be worn and every alternate seat left empty.
On the subject of masks, it is now once again mandatory to wear masks in supermarkets. As these are the businesses most often frequented by everyone, we spend the most time in them and they are air conditioned which seems to be conducive to the spread of the virus, it makes sense.
Before I forget, in my previous blog I said the information therein was valid at time of writing but came with no guarantees that it would remain unchanged. Well, forget about King Saron as a means of getting to Symi. Evidently a ferry license is not forthcoming and they are sticking to day excursions. While there is nothing to stop you buying a day excursion ticket to Symi and then not using the return leg, the problem is that they are not allowed to take luggage and are subject to police inspections so turning up with your wheelie bag for a day trip to Symi is just not going to work. Spare underwear and a toothbrush in your handbag is about as far as it goes. Meanwhile Dodecanese Seaways continues to adjust its schedules on a weekly basis and a cloud of uncertainty continues regarding Sunday travel. Compromise is the name of the game this summer and anyone travelling this year is going to have to take it as it comes. Someone said, don’t sweat the small stuff…
Direct flights have started from the UK and will soon be starting from Sweden. After a few hiccoughs the PLF and QR system seems to be functioning fairly smoothly. Airlines are now responsible for making sure that passengers actually fill in the PLF form 24 hours before travelling and get their QR codes so they are more motivated to get this done. The bottle necks are at their check in desks rather than in the arrivals hall as the airlines have to foot the bill for anyone who travels without one.
According to an article in one of the Greek papers yesterday, one of the difficulties with the Covid-19 testing process in the island airports is that the swabs have to be sent to Athens to be processed which obviously takes longer as they are sent in a batch once or twice a day, whenever there is a flight back to Athens and then have to be processed. As it says on the government website, you will be notified if your test results are positive and you are asked to self-isolate and practice social distancing for the 24 hours or so it takes for your test to be processed. Another difficulty that the authorities are experiencing that is totally within the control of travellers, however, is people giving bogus addresses and fake phone numbers on their forms or ignoring the phone calls from the authorities. As people are only contacted if their test results are POSITIVE this means selfish individuals who think they have outwitted the system, for reasons known only to themselves, could be blithely spreading the virus as they disport themselves in bars and beaches. For anyone reading this considering such irresponsible behaviour, just remember, they still have your passport number and there is probably a special place in Interpol hell for super-spreaders!
And on that cheerful note I shall leave you to mull over the madness that is the summer of 2020.