ATHENS – Greeks still won't be able to travel between regions during the continuing lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, that is finally showing slow signs of working but not enough to ease restrictions.
The lockdown was set to be lifted Dec. 1 and let non-essential businesses open again for the critical Christmas revenue period as thousands were battered – many closed – during a first 10-week closing in the spring.
But government spokesman Stelios Petsas earlier said it seems likely that the tough measures will continue past that point as it took too long for people to start obeying requirements to wear masks, stay safe social distances away and stay home except for permissible missions.
Now he told Antenna TV that the New Democracy government believes that letting people move around the country during a quasi-lockdown wouldn't be safe and at risk those areas with fewer cases and could spread infections.
Greeks are hoping to be able to travel during the holiday season although some health authorities said they believe the second wave of the Coronavirus will still have a grip on the country and that there could even be a third early in 2021.
Petsas said that when restrictions are lifted it will be gradual, schools reopening first but with random – but not universal – testing of staff and students although the major opposition SYRIZA blamed the government for keeping schools open too long before closing them down too for now.
After that, retail stores will be allowed to open although many businesses feel it will be too late to save the holiday season that provides revenues critical to their yearly results, already staggering over the first lockdown.
Next would come the hardest-hit economically – restaurants and cafes – although it seems certain that bars and nightclubs that were allowed to stay open and became spreaders of the virus won't, perhaps dooming some.