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As COVID-19 Lockdown Eases, Greece Reopening Monuments, Historic Sites

Αssociated press

Children ride their bycicles outside the ancient theatre of Herodes Atticus, in Athens during lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, on Friday, May 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS - Ancient monument sites that are a major lure for tourists coming to Greece will reopen on May 18 with further lifting of a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

It wasn’t said how social distancing requirements that people be at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart will be enforced even in open air areas like the Acropolis that overflows with people, and no report if the number of people allowed in will be limited.

The sites were shut down for two months during the lockdown but Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, in announcing the opening, said museums will open in mid-June and open-air performance can resume in mid-July, good news for artists sidelined during the crisis and so far not eligible for 800-euro benefits ($877.64) for workers temporarily laid off.

Hundreds of musicians, actors and art workers rallied outside Parliament to demand more support for their sector, reported the Reuters news agency.

"We are here," read a message drawn in chalk on the street. Protesters waved a giant theatre puppet. In the northern city of Thessaloniki, musicians performed tied up in a red and white cordon tape.

Many artists have performed live online for those staying home since Greece reported its first case of the new coronavirus in February. "We stayed home but we didn't stay silent," artists' unions said in a statement.