GR US

Greece Tightens Up Mask-Wearing Restrictions for Coronavirus Pandemic

Αssociated Press

A crew member takes the temperature of passengers as they are boarding a ship bound to Greek Aegean islands at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

ATHENS -- Wearing masks is obligatory in all indoor public spaces throughout August, the government announced on Friday, introducing new strict measures after a spike this week of new cases nationwide.

In brief break-news statements broadcast live on television and wearing a mask, Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias said eating places, people with medical issues - such as difficulties breathing - or children under 3 years of age are exempted from the mask-wearing measure.

In addition, restrictions were imposed on visits to retirement homes, facilities for vulnerable people, refugee centers and hospitals (to Aug. 15), excepting people accompanying patients, while ceremonies for life events such as baptisms, marriages and funerals are restricted to 100 people each (Aug. 3-15), keeping social distancing.

This coming week in particular (August 3 to 8), nightclubs, bars, live-music venues, bar-restaurants, cafes and such may only allow seated clients, not standing-room only. Recommended social distances must be observed at beaches, and public and private boats, throughout the month of August, while all open-air events, including saints' festivals, are banned until August 31.

In addition, the suspension of air and land connections with Turkey, Albania and North Macedonia is extended to August 15. Also extended to August 15 are the requirements for visitors who enter Greece via Promahonas border station to have tested negatively over the last 72 hours prior to entry, and the same is true for air passengers from Bulgaria, Romania and the United Arab Emirates.

Personal responsibility "was and is the secret success of Greece," Hardalias said, "and at this stage we must all exhibit the same sense responsibility and awareness." He added that Greece is "becoming vigilant without panic" and called on the public to abandon relaxing of measures and to follow the regulations.