Retail stores in Greece will re-open to consumers next week under COVID-secure guidelines, Greek Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias announced on Wednesday.
Speaking during a media briefing, Hardalias said that the government decided to make adjustments to existing measures, taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), in an aim to address the lockdown fatigue that citizens are facing.
How consumers can shop
More specifically, all retail stores in the country will re-open as of Monday, April 5, with a three-hour limit per shopper so as to avoid crowding. To go shopping, citizens must send an SMS with a special code (to be announced) to a five-digit mobile phone service to request permission of movement.
All retail stores will be operating by both “click away” and “click in shop” methods.
It is reminded that the “click away” method sees consumers making online or phone orders and picking up their purchases only outside of stores. The “click in shop” method sees consumers making appointments (online or by phone) in advance to shop in person inside retail stores. The method allows only a limited number of consumers in a store at once. As announced by the deputy minister, a maximum of 20 customers will be allowed to shop at the same time (one customer per 25 sq.m.).
Shoppers must follow strict social distancing rules while making purchases in person in all retail stores. Mask wearing is mandatory in all public places.
It is noted that department stores and shopping malls will not open at this time. According to Hardalias, their opening will be re-evaluated next week.
Movement between municipalities allowed only on weekends
Moreover, the deputy minister announced that from Saturday, April 3, and only for weekends at this time, citizens that send an SMS for option “code 6” (personal exercise or walking a pet) to the five-digit mobile phone service 13033, will be allowed movement outside their municipality of residence by car (up to 3 people or a family).
Hardalias underlined that that the measure of inter-municipal movement on weekends will be implemented on a pilot basis in order for citizens to cope with Covid-19 stress.
“If the measure is abused and overcrowding is noticed then it will be abolished,” he said.
With regard to schools, Hardalias said that the health committee will evaluate their opening next week. He mentioned that the committee will consider the opening of some grades on April 12.
Greek health authorities on Wednesday announced 3,616 new coronavirus cases – 1,706 found in Athens-Attica alone – and 76 deaths.
Since the start of the pandemic, the total number of cases in the country has reached 263,689. The Covid-19 death toll in Greece is 8,093.