ATHENS – Hoping to avoid a second lockdown, Greece's New Democracy government is said to be considering even more health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after those in force already weren't working or being defied.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is trying to balance saving lives against saving the economy, not wanting to again close non-essential businesses after thousands closed during a first 10-week lockdown that began in March.
His government already had extended requirements to wear masks to all outdoor public gathering places including the open air market known as laiki, but scenes abound of people not wearing them, even in supermarkets.
Crowds of young people were also gathering in public places after midnight, buying beer and alcohol from street kiosks and convenience stores when night clubs had to shut, those facilities now also being required to close then.
Among the new conditions being mulled, said Kathimerini, include earlier closing times for restaurants and bars before midnight, and supermarkets required to have specific hours for only those most vulnerable – the ill and those over 65 – allowed to shop.
Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias is in contact with Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis about a plan to slow the spread of the virus in the capital, the paper said, especially the young partying in squares although police have been told to use moral persuasion only so far.
In a TV address earlier, Mitsotakis said he doesn't want to order another lockdown in the Attica prefecture around the capital although Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said the economy could withstand the shock, apart from businesses which don't make it and people who lose their jobs.
Government sources not named told the paper the public health sector has enough Intensive Care Units (ICU's) and ventilators for now although there are plans to have private and military hospitals on standby too.