4 May Update
It looks that Greece has weathered the corona crisis much better than most of Europe. On the island of Lefkas, where Healthy Options has its base, only one infection was counted, and thankfully the patient recovered quickly. The Greek government will start to ease restriction on the tourism sector from June 1st, and we are working on the assumption that we will be able to open up somewhere in the month of July. Here you can read our full update. Meanwhile, we started to accept new bookings without the need to pay a deposit and we have decided that if you cannot travel this year because you fell ill with Covid 19 and your insurance will not cover, we will allow you to use any payment made until that moment towards another holiday with us later in the season or in the next. Please send us an email if you'd like to know more.
17 April Update
British Airways have now advised that our flights 24 & 31 May will not operate so those holiday dates have now also been withdrawn. All clients affected will be contacted shortly to advise the possible options, if not already done. We are continuing to monitor the situation for June but already readying our centre so we are prepared to welcome our first guests just as soon as we are able. In the light of this we are continuing to delay requests for holiday balance payments that are overdue or imminently due.
Meanwhile a bit of good news, contrary to our previous update we now understand that there has only been ONE person infected on the whole island of Lefkas and they appear to be recovering well.
3 April update
Finally we have had confirmation that Norwegian Airlines, who were responsible for our charter flights for the first three weeks of the season (May 03, 10 & 17 departures) will not be operating and so we are now in a position to inform you that those holiday weeks will definitely not be going ahead. This was as we expected but needed this confirmation from the airline.
In our opinion it is unlikely that we will be operating until mid June at the earliest but we need to await a decision by British Airways, who are operating our flying programme from 24 May onwards, before we are able to plan anything satisfactorily and BA are in turn undoubtedly awaiting further information from the Greek authorities.
So far the measures taken by the Greek government seem to be meeting with some success and they have one of the lowest rates of infections across Europe, aided by the fact that it has been relatively easy to protect the islands by isolating them. A good example of this is that as of 2nd April Lefkas has had only 9 cases of coronavirus and they are being closely monitored. Meanwhile all schools and non essential shops are closed and hotels are currently not allowed to re-open until the end of April, to further reduce the impact and spread of the virus.
How does this affect you?
Our office is still not fully operational and only one person will be manning it during the current Governmental lockdown, so regrettably we cannot take phone calls at this time. Please therefore email with any holiday transfer requests, credit voucher requests or any other queries and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
24 March update
To comply with the new Government regulations restricting movement of non-essential workers our UK sales office will be unmanned for the most part during the nationwide lockdown. We do ask people not to leave messages on our voicemail as we do not know when we will be able to answer them. We are able to remotely access emails but not any of our office systems so have no remote access to individual clients booking details. Therefore we would ask that any clients with current bookings to continue to bear with us whilst we liaise with the airlines to ascertain if our holiday flights for May and possibly June will be operational or suspended. Up to this time airlines have naturally been concerned with changes to their flying programmes up to the end of April, so hopefully we will have some news soon, but until we have firm information on this we are continuing to defer requests for any holiday balance payments that are either overdue or imminent. Once we have any information or updates for specific holiday bookings we will contact everyone concerned and post further updates.
March 17 update
In light of the ongoing coronavirus news we are posting this message to advise the latest information in respect of our holidays and hopefully minimise any worries people may have about it, particularly those who already have holidays booked.
At the time of posting (17 Mar), as we understand it, there are no absolute travel restrictions to entering Greece imposed yet either by the UK FCO or the Greek government (in respect of UK originating persons), as there have been for some other EU countries, so flights are allowed in and out. However, the UK FCO has just literally put out an advice suggesting no foreign non-essential travel for the next 30 days. The Greeks have imposed the closure of schools, cafes, restaurants, hotels etc but only up to the end of April. They have also just introduced a 14 day quarantine period for anyone entering the country – whilst there’s no end date put on that, seemingly it’s for the same period, and feels apparent to us that all these measures are designed to deliver a hard shock to stop the spread of the virus (like most EU countries are doing) before the tourist season starts in May.
There’s a lot of news about many flights being cancelled but it appears these are all up to the end of April. May onwards most airlines currently appear to be maintaining their flight programmes to whichever holiday destinations. Currently our flights are still contracted to operate, and the intention would be to open in May as planned, unless these restrictions are extended from the end of April and/or UK FCO/Greek government imposes a ban on UK originating flights. However, we are asking people to bear with us, over this next little while, as the situation is very fluid, whilst we see what transpires over the next couple of weeks.
Notwithstanding all that, if we can’t provide holidays for reasons such as a travel ban, quarantine restrictions or closure of services then either we would offer those clients already booked to transfer to an alternative date later in the season or a refund of any monies paid, which is embodied in our Booking Conditions.
Anyone who has booked a holiday and taken out travel insurance prior to 10 March* should be fully covered. Our recommended insurers have confirmed that travel insurance booked prior to 10 March will still cover travellers where there is no destination travel ban in place, both in case they subsequently fall ill, whether coronavirus related or some other illness, or injury or other personal circumstance means they are unable to travel or if they travel and fall ill abroad. We believe most travel insurance policies offer the same provisions, but everyone should check with their own insurance providers.
* On March 10th our recommended insurers’ underwriters informed us that they were introducing an exclusion for risks associated with Covid 19. If travellers already had insurance by this date they should still be covered, but again they need to check with their insurers. If not see our guarantee below.
Healthy Options Covid 19 Guarantee
In the event that our clients have not got a travel insurance in place that covers them for cancellation due to Covid19, we are also offering our own ‘comfort guarantee’. The essence of this is that, were clients to cancel their holiday within 28 days prior to departure, due to contracting the Covid19 virus, we would credit the amount of cancellation charges applicable, toward any holiday at a future date that suits... and for which we have availability. We would naturally require some documentary evidence of the reason for cancellation (e.g. medical letter) and some written confirmation from clients insurers that they were not covered.
In essence, no one should lose any monies. Either our holidays will go ahead, or if we are obliged to cancel holidays we will offer a transfer to another suitable date or a refund, or cancellation charges can be recovered from Travel insurers if travellers fall ill and are unable to travel, or our Covid 19 guarantee comes into effect.
We are all in unchartered territory with this and events have moved swiftly over the last few days, but when we have any further information or updates or circumstances change that affects our holidays we will contact everyone concerned as soon as possible.
Is it safe to book my holiday yet? The simplest answer is that it has always been safe to book a holiday with us. Your monies are completely protected under the ATOL scheme (we hold ATOL...Read on