Aiming to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Greece, the government on Tuesday announced that face masks will be mandatory for people visiting a number of indoor establishments including public service offices, banks and retail shops.
The measure will go in force tomorrow, July 29, and was announced amid a small amount Covid-19 outbreaks in Greece this month, which, according to Greek Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias, are “fully manageable”.
Speaking during a televised address, the deputy minister stressed that “we must learn to live” with face masks. “Social distancing, masks and personal hygiene complete the triptych to stay healthy, for Greece to continue to be safe healthwise,” he said.
Where masks must be worn in Greece
As of Wednesday, everyone (staff and the public) are obliged to wear face masks in public service offices, banks, bakeries, butchers, fish markets, patisseries, retail shops, hairdressers and beauty salons.
Masks in Greece are already mandatory in public transport, taxis, professional vehicles, hospitals, doctor’s offices, medical centers, ferries, airplanes and supermarkets for employees and consumers alike.
Anyone caught without a mask faces a fine of 150 euros.
‘No reason to panic’
According to Hardalias, the increase in domestic cases should not create a panic, but also should not lead to complacency.
“The virus is still here and is feeding… It is up to us to stop its course by observing the hygiene measures and avoiding mass gatherings and pointless overcrowding,” he said.
According to the deputy minister, out of the total of 4,193 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Greece, currently 429 are active – 1,061 patients have been discharged from hospital, while another 2,501 has recovered at home.
Speaking in reference to the origin of the imported cases, Hardalias once again informed that the majority of positive cases were found from travelers from four Balkan countries.
“We now have our attention focused on Spain, due to a change in the epidemiological data there. That is why we doubled the tests for citizens arriving in Greece from that country,” Hardalias said.
During the July 1-26 period, 171,138 Covid-19 tests were performed at Greece’s entry points out of 1,294,798 incoming travelers. A total of 344 positive cases were found, of which 70 are now active; 213 have returned to their home countries; and another 61 are in Greece but no longer active.
Moreover, Hardalias announced that authorities will boost checks on public transport in the coming days.
Referring if all local village festivals in Greece, known as “panigyria”, will remain banned for the whole summer to limit the spread of Covid-19, Hardalias said that an announcement will be made in the coming days.