Greek banks to remain closed all week

Emma Woollacott
60135.JPG Village of Naoussa Glen Allison "color,horizontal,exterior,center,transportation,travel,naoussa,village,community,worl
60135.JPG Village of Naoussa Glen Allison "color,horizontal,exterior,center,transportation,travel,naoussa,village,community,worl

British tourists travelling to Greece are being warned to take plenty of cash, following the news that banks will be closed all this week.

After the country's failure on Friday to win a continuation of the EU bailout programme, the European Central Bank (ECB) is refusing further credit. The government is now taking emergency measures to prevent Greek people from withdrawing all their cash.

Not only will banks be closed until July 6, but cash withdrawals from ATMs will be limited to €60 (£42) for the same period. Right now, this restriction doesn't apply to foreign bank cards, but things could easily change. There are reports of long queues at ATMs in some areas, and concerns that ATMs could run out of cash.

Credit cards, too, could be useless.

"Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services – including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice," the Foreign Office warns. "Make sure you have enough Euros in cash to cover emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays."

This could still be a problem for many, though, as travel insurance policies often only cover sums of £300 or less.

Travellers are warned to take more than one means of payment with them such as cash, debit card and credit card. For many, things shouldn't be life-or-death, as 50% of holiday travellers are on all-inclusive packages.

As for reports that the country might run out of petrol, the country's top supplier, Hellenic Petroleum, says it has 'many months' supply. Indeed, according to reports, public transport is to be made free until July 6.

ABTA says it doesn't expect tour operators to cancel trips to Greece - but advises holidaymakers to take out travel insurance as soon as they book their holiday, so that they are protected if they need to cancel.

It's worth remembering that tourism is one of Greece's biggest industries, with hotel bookings accounting for 9% of GDP - and spending in shops, restaurants, tourist sites adding up to even more. The government has every interest in keeping things running smoothly.

And even if Greece pulls out of the Euro, nothing much would change in the short term: any switch to a new currency would take time, and Euros would almost certainly be accepted in the interim. Greek Euros, meanwhile, would be just as much legal tender as any other.

The Latest: Bank of Greece Recommends Banks Remain Closed
The Latest: Bank of Greece Recommends Banks Remain Closed

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