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Greece's Seaside Promenades Opening to Public Again

Εθνικός Κήρυξ

Thessaloniki's waterfront promenade. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ MotionTeam)

Waterfront walkways in three of Greece's major cities – but not Athens yet – have reopened after authorities mostly in vain tried to keep people off them during a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

The closing of non-essential businesses and public gathering places largely worked to hold down the number of cases and fatalities, giving Greece one of the best records in the world in dealing with the pandemic.

But people in the country's second-largest city and major port, Thessaloniki, kept coming to the popular waterfront promenade despite facing fines of 150 euros ($162.84) for leaving their homes without permissible reasons.

There were also scenes of people crowding some Athens' seacoast areas and popular marinas in violation of the restrictions and more than 40,000 fines were issued after the lockdown began March 23 deep into April.

The Thessaloniki promenade as well as those in Patras, the third-biggest city and in Volos, on the sea in the northeast part of the country, also were open to users again on April 28 although a gradual easing of the lockdown won't begin until May 4.

People still must have written permission in the form of a document downloaded from the Internet, on their cell phones or handwritten, showing they are walking for exercise or could be fined. 

Central Macedonia Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas urged people, however, to avoid overcrowding for reasons of public health primarily but also to ensure that the restrictions are not reimposed although it's essentially impossible to enforce social distancing requirements they stay 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart on the seaside promenades.