Greece’s authorities have announced the opening of high schools in the country and the loosening of a few lockdown measures, but said that the night curfew and movement restrictions would stay in place.
Speaking during the Covid-19 Friday media briefing, Greek Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said the government has decided to ease some restrictions, as coronavirus infections in the country appear to have stabilised.
“The epidemiological situation of our country allows us to return to a partial normality,” he said.
Intra-regional travel remains banned, curfew stays in place
However, the deputy minister was quick to add that movement between Greek prefectures would continue to be banned (except for health and work reasons), the 9pm-5am curfew and permission for movement via SMS (to the five-digit mobile phone service 13033) would still apply and wearing a mask everywhere in public would remain mandatory.
High schools to open on February 1
During the briefing, it was announced that Greece’s middle schools (gymnasium) and high schools (lyceum) would open to students as of February 1, under strict health rules. It was clarified that high schools located in so-called “red” areas would not open and lessons there would continue through digital platforms.
All other educational facilities, such as universities, vocational training institutes, tutoring centers and language centers will remain closed for the time being.
Also, as of January 25, university students that reside out of their permanent residence area and wish to vacate their place of stay and return home can due so within 72 hours, with the necessary proof that their lease has expired (can be obtained from Taxisnet).
Hardalias said that the ban on hunting (and fishing) will remain and be lifted only for the prefectures of Rodopi, Evros and Xanthi as of January 25 to allow wild boar hunting in order to prevent any transmission of the African swine fever. The deputy minister warned that hunters must remain in their prefecture and hunt in groups of four (two hunters per car) at the most. In case of violations, fines will be imposed and hunters will have their licenses revoked for three years and will not be able to issue new ones.
The general lifting of restrictions for hunting and fishing in Greece is expected to be discussed again next Friday, when there will also be a discussion on the further opening of sports activities.
Two passengers allowed in taxis
Moreover, the deputy minister said that taxis will be allowed to carry two passengers (in addition to the driver) as of Monday, January 25 and cruise ships that are already docked in Greek ports can travel to ports on the mainland for repair and maintenance.
Hardalias added that OPAP betting shops (except OPAP play stores) will be allowed to resume operations from February 1.
It is reminded that Greece’s retail stores, shopping malls and a number of other businesses reopened on January 18.
Strict lockdown measures lifted in some areas
The deputy minister also announced that additional lockdown restrictions will be lifted from certain areas in the country due to an improvement of their epidemiological situation. These areas are Anthili (Lamia), Palekastro (Sitia), the Argolida region (Peloponnese) and the island of Kalymnos (South Aegean).
It is noted that only the strict restrictions are being lifted from the aforementioned areas, which continue to be under Greece’s general lockdown.
On the other hand, strict lockdown restrictions have been extended until Monday, February 1, in the following areas:
– the Μunicipality of Aspropyrgos in west Attica
– the Municipality of Acharnes in east Attica
– the local communities of Eordea, Krokos and Voio of the Regional Unit of Kozani
– the Municipality of Sparti in the Peloponnese Region
– the regional unit of Viotia in Central Greece
– the island of Lesvos in the North Aegean Region
Areas under tight lockdown restrictions have to abide by a stricter curfew that bans non-essential movement between 6pm and 5am.
Greek health authorities on Friday announced 585 new coronavirus cases and 28 deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, the total number of cases in the country has reached 151,041. The Covid-19 death toll in Greece is 5,598.