Greece Further Tightens Covid-19 Restrictions Ahead of Orthodox Easter Sunday
Greece on Thursday said it was tightening its social distancing measures during the Easter holiday and including hefty fines for violators, aiming to protect the public health from the coronavirus (Covid-19).
From 9pm on Holy Saturday, April 18, and until Easter Monday, April 20, at 12 midnight, the fine for non-essential movement will double to 300 euros throughout the country. Those driving will lose their license plates for two months.
Frequent road checks will be taking place to make sure that especially the B4 code (offer assistance to those in need) is not being misused for non-essential movement and that the rule of two people per vehicle is being followed. Misuse of code B4 includes a fine of 300 euros to the driver, removal of license plates and a 150-euro fine to the passenger.
The measures were announced by Greek Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias, who referred to the “irresponsibility” of a small minority of citizens that have been defying the current rules.
According to a recent survey, nine out of 10 of citizens have stated that they will comply with the restrictions and remain at home on Easter Sunday.
“We thank these 9 out of 10 people… However, there are those who have the nerve to declare that they are making preparations, as if nothing is happening, as if the virus will not reach them,” Hardalias said.
Τravel to the countryside and islands during Easter and traditional family festivities is not allowed this year in Greece. Exceptions do apply but specific documentation is needed.
Checkpoints have already been set up on national and provincial roads in the country, as well at toll stations, at ports, in airports and at intercity bus and train stations.
For the most effective implementation of the measures, the Greek police said it will be using drones and helicopters mainly in Athens and other major cities throughout the days of the Easter holiday.
Due to the restrictions against public gatherings, police presence will increase outside of churches and especially on Holy Friday and Holy Saturday (Resurrection midnight mass).
On Thursday, from 6am to 3pm, the Greek police recorded 41 violations throughout the country for non-essential travel outside the regional unit of residence.
For these violations, fines of 300 euros were issued and the license plates of 32 cars were revoked for 60 days.
Since the beginning of the measure (April 8), a total of 495 violations have been confirmed and an equal number of fines (300 euros) have been issued. In 285 cases, license plates were removed for 60 days.
Greece went into lockdown and introduced its non-essential movement ban on March 23. The ban has been extended until April 27.
The coronavirus has so far infected 2,207 people in the country and the death toll has reached 105.
Greece went into lockdown on 10th March.