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COVID-19 Lockdown Easing May 4, Greeks Ready To Get Out

ATHENS – It’s been a long time coming, but Greece’s lockdown keeping people mostly in their homes to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus will begin being eased on May 4 with the reopening of some small businesses, then bigger stores and hotels in June.

Pent-up with cabin fever, more than 40,000 people who violated the lockdown after it was imposed on March 23, being out without written permission for allowed trips such as going to supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, doctors and hospitals are eager to see the sun.

But that won’t happen until after the May Day weekend, with May 1 on a Friday this year, requiring people to stay in for one more weekend as warmer weather hit although they can go out for brief exercise but only in their neighborhoods to prevent flocking to beaches.

Deputy Civil Defense Minister Nikos Hardalias warned that authorities will continue to enforce restrictions on non-essential public movement and public assemblies until the measures start being relaxed.

While people can be out as long as they have a document downloaded from the Internet, on their mobile phones or handwritten – for six allowed categories – violators kept it up anyway on April 30, with 1,301 being fined 150 euros ($164.73) for defiance.

The easing of the restrictions however doesn’t apply to limiting travel as none will be allowed between prefectures to keep people from heading to islands or villages for fear of a resurgence of the virus as cases and deaths continue.

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