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Greece Reopening Beaches, Museums, Open-air Cinemas

The Greek government is continuing with the gradual easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to re-open social and economic activity as Greece is gearing up for the official start of the tourism season on May 14.

The General Secretariat for Civil Protection has announced that the country’s organized beaches will re-open to bathers on Saturday, May 8, under measures that include social distancing and hygiene rules.

Moreover, as announced by Greek Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias on Friday, following the recommendations of the Covid-19 infectious disease committee of experts, the government has decided to re-open:

museums on May 14, under safety measures already in force
nurseries and day care centers on May 17
conservatories of music on May 17
open-air cinemas (known as “therina”) on May 21 (they will operate on a 75 percent capacity so as to ensure social distancing of customers)
live cultural events and shows in outdoor areas (only with seated guests) on May 28

“We are taking additional steps to regain freedom,” the deputy minister said while he made the announcements during Friday’s Covid-19 media briefing.

Also from May 8, more customers will be allowed to shop at the same time in retail stores that are over 500 square meters in size (one customer per 50 sq.m.).

Hardalias also reminded that from May 10, kindergartens, elementary schools and junior high schools will re-open, under strict guidelines and Covid-19 measures, which include mandatory self-testing of students and teachers to attend classes.

Moreover, Monday will also see the re-opening of tuition and foreign language centers for activities related to exams; of administrative courts; and of some procedures in civil and criminal courts.

Update of Greece’s Covid-19 risk-assessment map

Greek Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias

During the Covid-19 briefing, Hardalias announced that the municipalities of Visaltia (Serres) and of Mesolongi (Etoloakarnania) were being moved to Covid-19 ‘dark red’ level (very high-risk) on Greece’s coronavirus risk-assessment map due to a rise in cases.

On the other hand, due to an improvement of the epidemiological data, the following areas will move from ‘dark red’ level (very high-risk) to ‘red’ level (high risk): Halkidiki; Didymoteicho (Evros); Pella, Edessa and Almopia (Pella); Sintiki (Serres); Orestida (Kastoria); Dirfi – Messapia (Evia); Aegialia, Western Achaia and Kalavrita (Achaia); Ilida (Ilia); Megalopolis, North Kynouria, South Kynouria and Gortynia (Arcadia); Loutraki – Agios Theodoros, Velos – Vochas and Nemea (Corinth); Mylopotamos and Amari (Rethymnon, Crete); and Chania and Kissamos (Chania, Crete).

The deputy minister announced that as of May 8, the area of Kastania of the municipality of Orestiada would be entering a strict lockdown due to a surge in cases.

He added that the situation in Mesolongi, Agrinio, Aetoliko and Kalymnos (already under strict lockdown) is worrying due to a rise in Covid-19 cases.

For further information (in Greek) on the restrictive measures in ‘red’ and ‘dark red’ areas, press here. The map is updated every week.

On her part, Professor Vana Papaevaggelou, infectious diseases specialist and member of the Covid-19 health committee, said that the epidemiological burden is showing a decline with the total number of active Covid-19 cases in Greece now below 20,000.

Professor Vana Papaevaggelou

“However, the figure remains high and the virus is circulating among us… We still have not even seen the effects of the Easter holidays,” she said, stressing that health experts are expecting local outbreaks.

The Hellenic National Public Health Organization (EODY) on Wednesday announced 2,691 new coronavirus cases and 63 deaths. The number of intubated patients in Greece’s ICUs is 749, according to EODY. Since the start of the pandemic, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country has reached 358,116. The Covid-19 death toll in Greece is 10,910.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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