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Society

Facing COVID-19 Defiance, Greek Cops Step Up Crackdown

ATHENS – Squads of Greek police have fanned out in an attempt to make people obey COVID-19 health measures as many people refuse to wear masks, won't stay apart from each other and with wild parties still going on almost unchecked.

In one day alone, Aug. 21, police carried out 59,882 inspections, recording 560 violations for not wearing masks or staying at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart in places where that's required, said Kathimerini.

Another 27 violations were recorded by businesses that failed to ensure health protocols were being observed on their premises or defied a midnight curfew, which restaurant and bar owners said was bringing them big losses.

In six cases – three on Crete, two in Central Macedonia and one in Attica – officers imposed 10,000-euro fines ($11,795) on businesses operating beyond the midnight curfew introduced in those areas. 

Since the beginning of August a total of 7,414 violations have been recorded across the country for violations in a range of categories as the New Democracy government is trying to balance saving lives against getting the economy going after a lockdown.

Food service and bar industry owners are railing against the requirement they close at midnight, the period after than being an especially lucrative time as people drink more, the restriction putting more financial pressure on them.

Especially affected are workers whose shift would go to 2 a.m. but will lose wages for that time, also tips in many cases that flow faster with the booze and people partying.

Business owners told the paper, “The measure is a disaster,” but weren't named as they vented their anger at the government and said there's no scientific evidence for the early closing.

Some companies, upon hearing the government announcement, decided to suspend their operations so as not to incur additional costs, the report said, with some 20-25 percent of seasonal businesses not opening this year, leading the industry to consider seeking a bailout or financial aid from the state.

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