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Greece Collects 4.25 Million Euros in Fines from COVID-19 Violators

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A traffic police officer checks a driver for valid documents following a lockdown order by the Government in Athens. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS – Violators leaving their homes and keeping businesses open during a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus were hit with 4.25 million euros ($4.59 million) in fines through April 3, officials said.

People are allowed to go out to shop for food, go to doctors, hospitals, pharmacies banks and other essential missions under the lockdown that began March 23 but must have their identification cards and permission in forms downloaded from the Internet, on their cell phones or by writing out where they are going on a piece of paper.

Data from the Hellenic Police (ELAS) showed there were 17,358 violations during that period, with fines of 150 euros ($162.07) on individuals, bringing in 2.6 million euros ($2.81 million) in 12 days from people flouting the restrictions.

Most of these violations were recorded in the region of Attica, followed by the northern port city of Thessaloniki, the islands of the Ionian and Western Greece, said Kathimerini, and with 330 businesses that stayed open whacked with fines of 5,000 euros ($5402.50) for each incident, bringing in 1.6 million euros ($1.73 million.)

“It is significant that the majority of citizens have complied with the measures implemented to avoid and limit the spread of the Coronavirus and for this, the Hellenic Police thanks them sincerely,” police spokeswoman Ioanna Rotziokou told the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA).

Government officials have said that the bulk of this revenue will be spent on bolstering the public healthcare system that was decimated with budget cuts during a nearly decade-long economic and austerity crisis.

The lockdown includes closing Church services and with people recommended to keep social distancing of 1.5-meters (4.92-feet) apart but has allowed the open air food and produce markets known as Laiki remain open with stalls at least 5-meters (16.4-feet) apart but people jammed next to each other while picking out food.