Greek authorities said tough Covid-19 restrictions in place since Christmas, including a 10pm to 5am curfew, no travel between prefectures, and text messaging for all movement, would also apply for the New Year’s holiday.
“We are developing two parallel efforts: defence, with all the measures needed to stop the pandemic; and counterattack, with the vaccination operation “Eleftheria” which will free society and the economy from the global plague of the coronavirus,” said Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas during the first weekly briefing after Christmas.
More specifically, measures for New Year’s:
– no movement is allowed between 10pm and 5am
– children will not be allowed to sing the New Year’s carols
– there is a nine-person cap on gatherings at homes (violations carry a fine of 3,000 euros for host, 300 for participants and 10,000 for repeat violation)
– a text message (SMS) code 6 to 13033 will be required for New Year’s-related movement (citizens must send an SMS both when leaving and when returning home – before the night curfew.)
– travel outside the prefecture of residence is forbidden with exceptions (returning to permanent residence, family reunification, business reasons, health reasons, attending a funeral) requiring special documentation
– only one passenger is allowed in taxis
– church services will be held with a maximum of 25 people at local temples and 50 at cathedrals with obligatory mask wearing
– supermarkets will be open on New Year’s Eve from 8am to 8pm
– all retail stores with the exception of bookshops will operate with click away transactions from 7am to 9pm and card payment.
The holiday containment measures appear to be working with the National Public Health Organization (EODY) reporting 476 new coronavirus cases and 66 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Petsas went to add that reopening schools was still the government’s number one priority. The education ministry is expected to examine the issue in a meeting with health experts this week.
Referring the vaccination process, which started on Sunday, Petsas said it was the only way to “get our lives back” and jumpstart economic activity. Greece received 83,850 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination on Tuesday. Petsas said Greece would be receive a total of 429,000 does by the end of January.