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Greece Ends COVID-19 Text Message Permission, Extends Curfew

ATHENS – Removing another COVID-19 lockdown yoke, Greece's New Democracy government ended a requirement that people wanting to be outside their homes during an essentially-suspended lockdown get permission on their cell phones via SMS text messages.

That came as the country opened to tourism although the lockdown had been eased so much it doesn't apply apart from wearing masks, which many people have shunned in a frantic bid to return to normal life as the pandemic wanes.

Those without phones were required to either get a form from the Internet to download or write one out by hand indicating why they were out for a series of permissible missions, which had turned into just about any reason.

The government also ended a so-called “click-and-collect” system for shopping in which people would make purchases online and make reservations to pick up outside stores, customers now allowed inside in limited numbers.

A curfew that was 11 p.m. was pushed back to 12:30 a.m. to lure tourists, with restaurant customers allowed to eat only outside also exempted from penalties to allow them to return home.

Museums are also opening their doors to the public after six months on lockdown with limits on the number of visitors, who are also required to wear a mask at all times.

Interregional travel is also being allowed with conditions for those heading to islands, requiring proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test taken withing 72 hours before the journey or a certificate of having recovered from COVID-19 in the last two to nine months.

These rules do not apply for travel to the islands of Lefkada, Evia and Salamina, which are linked to the mainland by road, said Kathimerini in a report listing the easing of the health restrictions as vaccinations are picking up faster.

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