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Covid-19: Greece to Celebrate New Year’s With Music Bans and Curfews

Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris.

Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris.

Greek authorities have pushed forward to 6am on Thursday, December 30, a set of measures initially planned to take effect on January 3, following a surge in Covid-19 cases in the last few days.

Health Minister Thanos Plevris announced the news earlier on Wednesday after Greece reported 21,657 new Covid infections and is expecting more than 30,000 today.

More specifically starting at 6am tomorrow:

music is banned at all restaurants, bars and entertainment venues

– establishments must close at midnight

– on New Year’s Eve, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues can close at 2am. Music is banned

– seating at restaurants, bars and entertainment venues has been restricted to six people per table. No standing customers allowed

– private and public enterprises must implement a 50 percent teleworking order

– the use of high-protection KN95 masks or double masks is required by healthcare workers or F&B employees and consumers at supermarkets and public transport

visitors to hospitals and nursing homes must provide a negative PCR test taken 48 hours ahead of visit.

Plevris confirmed that the fast-spreading Omicron variant of coronavirus was now the dominant strain in Greece, and that hospitals already handling Delta cases would soon be overwhelmed. He reiterated health experts’ call for vaccination.

Meanwhile, in response to the announcement, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the government would stand by affected households and businesses and that new support measures, including furlough and financial aid would be decided after assessing the impact of restrictions.

With regard to schools set to open on January 10, Government Spokesperson Yiannis Economou said classes would start as planned leaving open however the possibility of new health protocols. Health experts are recommending they children return to school a week later than planned.

In efforts to address the new wave of the deadly virus, the government is encouraging citizens to self-test before gatherings and to avoid meeting with vulnerable relatives.

In this direction, residents can using their social security number (AMKA) get two self-test kits for free at pharmacies.

Omicron has wreaked havoc across Europe, in the US and Australia, which all reported a record number of new cases on Tuesday.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and SETimes.com, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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