The Greek government on Sunday announced a bank holiday until …July 7 as a necessary measure to combat the possibility of a bank run — one of the “results” of a surprise late-night announcement of a referendum by the Greek premier. What does this mean for travelers?
* Travelers are advised to take plenty of cash with them, because although holders of banks accounts abroad — or credit cards issued in foreign banks — can withdraw as much cash as they like, it doesn’t mean that ATMs will also be replenished in time. Venceremos alert –> For the unfortunate locals … 60 euros maximum of their own money is the cash limit per day!
* Banks have been closed until July 7 and will only handle certain public transactions.
* Announcement of failed/stalled/frustrated/unproductive negotiations resulted in some panic buying at supermarkets and gas stations, mostly in the Athens area. Be prepared for some shortages though the leftist government has said that health and medical supplies are secure.
* Rallies of supporters from the “Yes” and “No” camps of the referendum have been scheduled throughout the week at the Athens center. Expect demonstrations around Syntagma Square – but when there are no demonstrations, Syntagma Square completely safe. Tourists are advised to exercise common sense and caution.
* Be flexible in your ferry transport schedule and unforeseen events as a result of Greece’s political turmoil.
* Restaurants, supermarkets, spas, hotels etc. accept credit cards though there were rumors that some proprietors on islands over the weekend only accepted cash.
* Greece is still a safe country, but petty crime may be on the rise due to wallet snatchers hoping to cash in on the extra cash people have been forced to carry.
* Travelers are advised to keep abreast of the news as the situation is constantly changing – Greece is still using the euro and any change in currency will not be an overnight event. Be informed. CLICK HERE for a great site where you can be informed on matters concerning Greece.
* The referendum will ostensibly take place on July 5, expect disruptions on this day.
On the plus side, Greece is as beautiful and hospitable a travel destination as ever:
* Travel experts do not anticipate that there will not be major disruptions to tourism as Greeks see the sector as a lifeline and have a vested interest in it running smoothly.
* Greek turmoil means holidays are becoming cheaper by the day.
* The government announced free public transport in the greater Athens area until July 6.