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Society

Greece Puts COVID-19 Restrictions on Seasonal Migrant Workers

July 21, 2020

ATHENS – Wary of seasonal migrant workers who toil in the fields bringing COVID-19 into the country, Greece has set strict measures after a spike in the virus in the Balkans raised worries it could jump more.

In 2019, more than 10,000 seasonal workers were employed in Greece's agricultural sector, mainly from Albania, Bulgaria and North Macedonia.

"Land workers that exit the country before Aug. 4 will not be able to return until further notice," government spokesman Stelios Petsas told a news briefing.

Seasonal workers were permitted into the country in early May under a three-month special licence and he said entry into Greece will be allowed at six border crossings.

The New Democracy government imposed a lockdown March 23 that on May 4 began being lifted week-by-week to allow the opening of non-essential businesses temporarily shut but opening to tourists has seen cases rising again.

Social distancing rules are still on the books but widely ignored or defied as is a requirement to wear masks in many places, especially supermarkets, where few people are doing so.

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