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Wearing Face Masks Obligatory in All Indoor Public Spaces in Greece throughout August

Αssociated Press

Two women walk at a commercial street of Glyfada suburb, near Athens, on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Greek authorities introduced tougher restrictions this week following an increase in coronavirus infections, most unrelated to tourism. (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.

Meanwhile, Deputy Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis told parliament that some 9,000 coronavirus diagnostic tests are being carried out every day at the country's airports and land borders.

Anti-coronavirus curfews and group exodus restrictions at all refugee accomodation facilities and hotspots nationwide are extended to August 31, according to a joint ministerial decision on Friday.

Effective since March 23, the curfews restrict to and from movement from facilities to the hours between 07:00 and 21:00, with a maximum 150 refugees allowed to leave per hour, and that in groups of no more than 10 people.

The Hellenic National Defense General Staff on Friday announced that the use of non-medical face masks is now mandatory at all installations operated by or affiliated with military forces, including offices open to the public, war museums and historical sites.

Foreign and Greek Cypriot students, who come to Greece to study in domestic military schools, or to participate in student exchange programs, must present proof of a 7-day quarantine and proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test performed 48 hours before arrival in Greece.

Moreover, swearing-in ceremonies of conscripts are performed outdoors without guests or visitors.

The Hellenic National Defense General Staff also urged anew the matter of individual responsibility in diligently observing personal hygiene measures and rules of social distancing.