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Covid-19: Greece Opens Holiday Shops with Distancing Measures

In an attempt to ease Covid-19 fatigue, retail stores selling holiday goods will be the first to open in Greece, on Monday, despite the extension of lockdown measures to December 14.

The stores selling seasonal items ahead of Christmas and New Year’s will be open from 7am to 8:30pm and shoppers will be required to text authorities – SMS message – reason #2 – on the government’s 13033 number.

Shopkeepers will also be required to enforce strict protocols including customer distancing.

Meanwhile, Greek authorities are expected to announce early next week a full plan for the country’s return to economic and social activity. 

Government Spokesperson Stelios Petsas said next week’s plan will be comprehensive and focus on return to life after December 14 and in view of the holiday season.

“After 10 months of fatigue, people are asking us to open up safely. That’s why we take into account expert recommendation and make our decisions based on that,” said Petsas.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece. Photo Source: Visit Greece /Y Skoulas

He went on to clarify that there was little chance of allowing movement between regions and prefectures due to the high epidemiological load as well as due to the potential risk to unaffected areas.

Petsas sai the decrease in hospital admissions due to Covid-19 was encouraging but added that the number of intubated individuals and the load on intensive care units was still very high, putting pressure on the health care system.

The are signs, he said, that the curve is flattening but at a “slower than expected” rate. 

Lastly, he referred to the importance of vaccination, which will be free at 1,018 centers across Greece, with the aim of vaccinating 2,117,000 people each month. In this direction, he said the health ministry had prepared an awareness-raising campaign.

In the last 24 hours, Greece recorded 1,182 new coronavirus cases.

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