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UK to reopen nonessential shops on June 15 as Greece restarts tourism season

Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centers next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said while Greece restarted regular ferry services to its islands Monday and opened cafes and restaurants to salvage its tourism season.

Johnson told a news conference Monday that from June 1, outdoor markets and care showrooms could be reopened as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines, and all other nonessential retail from June 15 if the government’s tests are met.

“There are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country,” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Greece’s low infection rate in the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the government to start the holiday season three weeks earlier than the expected June 15 date, as other Mediterranean countries are grappling with deadlier outbreaks.

Travel to the islands had been generally off-limits since a lockdown was imposed in late March to halt the spread of the coronavirus, with only goods suppliers and permanent residents allowed access.

Tourism is a vital part of the Greek economy, directly contributing more than 10% of the country’s GDP as Greece struggles to emerge from years of financial crisis. More than 34 million visitors traveled to Greece last year, spending 18.2 billion euros ($19.5 billion), according to government data.

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