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Greece Enters Three-week Nationwide Coronavirus Lockdown

Αssociated Press

A man, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, walks alongside central Syntagma square during the first day of a lockdown, in Athens, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. With a surge in coronavirus cases straining health systems in many European countries, Greece has announced a three-week nationwide lockdown. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

The lockdown measures that were announced at noon on Thursday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, further clarified on both Thursday and Friday by Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias, and which went into effect at 06:00 on Saturday, are now also published in the Government Gazette.

Public travel outside homes and workplaces should be limited to the absolute minimum and include either permission through the text messaging (SMS) to number 13033, or documentation issued by employers or primary school principals, among others.

As of Saturday morning at 6:00, citizens are required to send an SMS to 13033 on their mobile phones before leaving their house, citing the specific reason for going outside, or fill out a related form by hand. Directions and forms to be filled out by those unable to send SMSs were available, Hardalias said, through the government site of forma.gov.gr.

The SMS should be formatted as follows: X, name, surname and address, where X should be one of the digits 1-6 correspondingto the activities below.

Αssociated Press

A stray dog sits in front of Presidential Guards who perform a shift change during the first day of a lockdown, in Athens, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. With a surge in coronavirus cases straining health systems in many European countries, Greece has announced a three-week nationwide lockdown. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

1- Visit to a pharmacy or visit to a doctor if necessary

2 - Visit to a supermarket or stores for essential supplies

3 - Visit to a bank if e-banking transactions are not possible

4 - Visit to people needing assistance or escorting children to and from school

5 - Attending a funeral, as per the conditions provided by the law, or visiting children in case of divorced parents

6 - Physical exercise outdoors or up to two persons taking their pet for a walk while always observing a 1.5-metre distance.

Meanwhile:

- Travel between prefectures is banned.

- Entry to Greece by air or land is allowed only after a negative PCR test, while those travelling abroad will also be required to supply a negative PCR test. Those entering Greece by air should have done the test 48 hours before departure, at most, while those coming by land 72 hours before departure. For overland crossing into Greece there will be a five-day transitional period before the measure is introduced, while for those travelling by air, the measure goes into effect on Monday. Greeks travelling abroad must fill out a PLF form found on travel.gov.gr, 24 hours before travel time. One form per family suffices.

- Special education schools and primary schools will remain open; all the rest will use e-learning platforms.

- Hairdressers and barbers will be able to operate exceptionally (and only if the owners wish so) on Saturday and Sunday, before going on lockdown on Monday.

- Food deliveries and takeaways are acceptable, but picking up food must not serve as the reason to go out per se. For food drive-through and take-aways, these are allowed only if combined with one of the six reasons for travel outside one's own home (the SMS reasons for leaving home). For example, one could pick up food on one's way to or from work.

- Most retail stores except supermarkets and local markets will shut down. Retail store sections dealing with e-orders and deliveries will operate as usual.

- Opticians and stores selling hearing aids will remain open, but only by appointment.

- Stores selling telecoms, computers, and phones will work through e-shops only.

- Other stores remaining open include: pharmacies, dry cleaners, kiosks (24 hours), gas stations, health and veterinary service centers, pet shops, and open markets (laikes), which will work at 50 pct capacity, and distancing of 5 meters between stalls.

- Supermarkets, butchers and fish stores will be open from 09:00 to 17:00 on Sunday, November 15.

Other clarifications concerning lockdown restrictions include:

- People with special needs will be allowed use of facilities to exercise, e.g. swimming, he said.

- All worship places are shut and services suspended except for funerals, limited to 9 attendees.

- Samos and Karditsa, which are under special emergency measures for natural disasters (earthquake and flooding, respectively), have different rules. Samiot residents do not have to send out SMSs (text messages) to leave their homes, while Karditsiots do. The latter are allowed to shop at stores that relate to house and business repair and farming equipment.

- Fishing and hunting are absolutely forbidden to the public.

- Parents could accompany their son enlisting for obligatory military duty to an army camp. The camp will issue parents with proof of having been there and their son will be tested for Covid-19 on entering the camp.

Stiff penalties will be issued to those breaking bans and regulations, ranging from 300 euros per individual to 5,000 euros per company.