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Greece Sets Face Mask Rule to Contain Covid-19 Spread

Greek health authorities are urging the country’s residents to wear a mask at all times particularly in public spaces where contact with others is inevitable in efforts to keep the spread of Covid-19 in check.

The national health committee has recommended the mandatory use of masks in public transport and crowded public spaces such as hospitals, medical centers, shops, and hair salons, among others.

According to the health ministry coronavirus spokesman, Sotiris Tsiodras, masks should be obligatory in all busy indoor areas and should apply to both incoming visitors/guests/consumers and as well as to staff and employees.

Officials are however stressing that mask-wearing should not offer a false sense of security, warning about the potential revival of the virus come fall.

Masks, Social Distancing the New Normal

Speaking on television, Deputy Development and Investment Minister Nikos Papathanasis said this week that in order to return to a new form of normalcy masks will be necessary.

“We have to learn to live with the mask as we have learned to live with the helmet while riding our motorcycles and the seat belt in our car,” he said, adding that relevant announcements would be made in the coming days.

Underlining the life-saving need to wear masks, the minister went on to add that there would be penalties for those not abiding by the new rules. According to media reports, the government is considering fines of up to 150 euros for violators. Penalties of up to 1,000 euros are still in effect for gatherings of over 10 people, and of 300 euros for travel outside prefect.

Papathanasis added that more than 500 inspections were being carried out daily by special teams to ensure that Covid-19 safety measures are being implemented and that checks would increase in the coming period.

Following the announcement by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday, that lockdown measures would gradually be lifted as of May 4, Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas called on Greeks to remain vigilant and disciplined, adding that anything that opens on May 4 “can be closed again”.

When Should I Wear a Mask?

Masks should be used in all crowded spaces or in areas with high public circulation:

– On mass transport,
– in taxis,
– in hospitals and medical centers,
– at supermarkets and pharmacies,
– if you are caring or visiting a high-risk person.

How to Use a Mask

– Always wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer before putting on your mask,
– make sure to cover mouth and nose and that there are no open spaces between face and mask,
– do not touch the mask while using; if you do, wash your hands,
– you should replace used or damp masks,
– remove masks from behind and discard in a closed bin; wash hands after.

Masks on Flights

Meanwhile, it should be reminded that airlines are also planning on implementing mandatory mask-wearing on flights as a response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Canadian carriers, Malaysian Airlines, and JetBlue Airways are requiring passengers to wear masks while the majority of US airlines have already made mask-wearing by flight attendants mandatory.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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