Everything that is happening with pilgrimage tourism has an impact on Mount Athos as there are few visitors to the monasteries and sketes.
The pandemic has negatively affected the wider region, and, subsequently, the Holy Communion has been making efforts to issue more pilgrimage permits, despite the fact that the government has not changed the decisions taken on the matter.
Mount Athos may be governed as an autonomous polity within the Greek Republic, but the government is responsible for public order and security. However, the Holy Communion made several decisions in order to stimulate the interest of visitors. Apart from the Greeks who remain cautious, foreigners (Bulgarians, Russians, Serbs) do not have easy access to Mount Athos.
Aiming at changing this trend, the Holy Community decided to increase the number of residences available per monastery from 15 to 20, while up to five people will be able to be accommodated in the sketes and cells on a daily basis. This big change was made in order to facilitate visits from one monastery to another.
Despite the above decision, many monks are calling for moderation and, mainly, for cooperation with the government and especially with the Foreign Ministry, so as to safely return to normal.