ATHENS – Warning of a difficult period in dealing with COVID-19 toward the end of March, Greece’s New Democracy is lifting a ban on public gatherings for the traditional kite flying on March 15, Clean Monday.
Parks in cities will be opened to mark the activity that takes place during the first day of lent but people won’t be allowed to drive to the destinations, only work or cycle.
They are also being advised to keep safe social distances although it wasn’t said how that would be enforced if they turn out in droves and children are running back and forth in the same space flying kites with their families.
The kite fliers will still need permission on their cell phones, forms downloaded from the Internet or written out explaining where they are going and giving their personal information, said Kathimerini.
Other third lockdown measures will remain, such as a ban on movement between regions, a 7 p.m. curfew on weekends and 9 p.m. on weekends although there have been instances of mass violations with parties and at least one club opening before being closed for breaking the rules.
Without explaining the contradiction, government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said there’s worry that the soaring number of cases could continue at the same time people will be allowed to fly kites and frustrations over the lockdown led to a violent demonstration in the neighborhood of Nea Smyrni.
She said the government will daily check epidemiological data and rely on the advice of its committee of doctors and scientists who have been guiding policies how to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
“Unfortunately, we are still in the midst of this unprecedented crisis and it seems that we have 10 to 14 difficult days ahead of us. We must wait and see how the situation develops, hoping that we are approaching the end of this unprecedented adventure” she said.
But she said an accelerated vaccination program is bringing hope of slowing the spread of COVID-19 although there’s a lag period and the country news to inoculate 70 percent, or some 7.5 million people, of the country’s population for it to be effective.
Little more than one million people have received at least one dose of the vaccines that require two, three weeks to three months apart and the government is eager to start tourism May 15 and open retail outlets with health conditions in place for all stores.