Organizers Breaking Carnival Ban Threatened with Jail, Greek Gov’t Announced

Carnival in Metaxourgio, Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi, file)

ATHENS – Agencies that do not comply with the government’s directive banning carnival celebrations over coronavirus concerns will face the prospect of jail and a maximum sentence of two years, a new announcement said on Thursday.

The Civil Protection, Health, and Interior ministers issued a joint ministerial decision that formally includes a ban on the celebrations, announced earlier in the day by Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias after the third case of COVID-19 was made public in Greece.

In their decision, the ministers cited public health concerns and said “whoever does not observe the measures of this article will be punished with a jail sentence of up to two years, unless the action is punished more severely by other legislation.”

At an informal briefing, the Health Ministry said that “the National Commission of Public Health Protection, faced with coronavirus COVID-19 unanimously proposed the postponement of carnival events throughout Greece, following similar practices in other countries,” and cited as examples the carnivals of Venice and Nice, as well as Germany.

The main factors driving their decision, they said, was the close contact of people in mass celebrations that could transmit the virus and lead to new outbreaks, and the protection of the public.