Covid-19: Greece to End Face Mask Rule on Public Transport
Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris on Tuesday announced that the anti-Covid measure of face masks will remain mandatory only in public and private health facilities, hospitals and senior care homes in Greece.
The announcement means that the use of face masks is expected to soon stop being mandatory on public transport, taxis and ferries in Greece, bringing to an end one of the few anti-Covid measures that have remained in the country.
Plevris made the announcement following a meeting with the country’s Covid-19 committee of experts.
It is reminded that Greece had dropped the face mask rule for indoor spaces in June 2022. However, mask wearing remained mandatory in hospitals, senior care homes and when riding in taxis and using public means of transport (buses, trolleys, electric railway, metro and tram).
“At today’s meeting of the committee of experts, the Health Ministry proposed the lifting of the remaining measures against Covid-19 in force with the exception of public and private health facilities and senior care homes,” Plevris said, adding that the ministry’s proposal was accepted and that an official announcement on the lifting of the measure is expected.
“However, we still need to protect vulnerable groups against Covid-19 and for this reason it is recommended to follow personal protection measures, keep up-to-date on vaccination and for those who are sick to receive antiviral treatment,” he added.
The use of face masks (surgical or cloth) on public transport initially became mandatory from April 2020. From December 2021, it became mandatory to wear a KN95 mask or double single mask on public transport.
Early in the Covid-19 pandemic the majority of people followed the rule and wore face masks on public transport. However, following the lifting of the rule for mask wearing in most indoor spaces last June, an increasingly large portion of passengers chose not to wear one. This behavior was encouraged by the fact that checks by authorities to ensure compliance with the measure never took place.
The official announcement of the lifting of the measure is expected soon. At the moment, announcements on its mandatory use while commuting are still heard in four languages in metro stations as part of a campaign (reminding passengers of the compulsory use of face masks) launched in July 2022 by urban fixed rail transport organisation STASY.