Greece to Celebrate Easter with Covid Measures in Place
Greeks are preparing to celebrate Orthodox Easter with full services on April 24 after two years of restrictions due to the pandemic and weeks before Covid certificates and masks are dropped for the summer tourism period.
Health experts are, however, urging caution and encouraging mask wearing in churches and in crowded spaces.
Health Minister Thanos Plevris said on Wednesday that current measures still apply and strongly recommended the use of face masks in crowded areas. He added that all Orthodox services will be allowed for the first time in the two years of Covid with adherence to protocols.
More specifically, according to the latest government decision, churchgoers will be required to display a vaccination or recovery certificate or a negative PCR / rapid test result to enter the church or to participate in any Easter-related or religious services. Children aged four to 17 can present a negative self-test declaration.
Mask wearing in all church areas is mandatory with the exception of priests, bishops and chanters.
“We will meet our loved ones; we will celebrate with care to the older and more vulnerable. And if we present any suspicious symptoms, we will self-isolate, protecting ourselves and our relatives,” said Greek Deputy Health Minister Mina Gaga in an interview to the Athens News Agency (ANA).
Gaga went on to stress that returning to normalcy after two years of coronavirus-related pressures required steady, gradual and careful steps based on health expert recommendations. She reiterated that the only way to control the virus was to show personal responsibility.
The deputy health minister also said that the government’s Covid committee was monitoring virus developments closely and admitted that the emergence of a new variant could not be predicted. She added that there was no way to foresee when the pandemic would subside.
Lastly, Plevris said that the government was considering suspending retroactively from April 15 the 100-euro fines imposed on unvaccinated seniors 60 years or older for those who decide to get vaccinated after all.
It is reminded that as of May 1, vaccination or recovery certificates will no longer be required for admission to bars, restaurants, cafes and other venues in Greece.
Moreover, under current rules, travelers are required to present their Covid vaccination and recovery certificates to be allowed admission into the country.
On June 1, masks will no longer be mandatory.