ATHENS – After backing away from a vow not to let Greece's rabid anti-vaxxers refusing COVID-19 inoculations hold the country hostage, the New Democracy government now will try to strangle their rhetoric with restrictions.
Health Minister Thanos Plevris, who has no experience in the field, told SKAI TV that the unvaccinated will be barred from more public gathering spots indoors although there's worry some have access to fake vaccination papers.
With restaurants moving more toward indoor dining with autumn here and winter coming, only people with proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test or who can show they're recovered from the Coronavirus can be admitted.
That could be extended to more indoor leisure and entertainment venues including concerts and live music events for which customers and performers must be vaccinated or meet the other terms.
The new public health safety measures are a response to growing frustration among the vaccinated that they're paying the price of continued restrictions in public life because the unvaccinated are spreading the pandemic.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has made vaccinations mandatory only for health workers and has not moved, as he said he would, to extend required shots for more if the pandemic spread, which it has. He hasn't said why.
The government's Eleftheria (Freedom) vaccination campaign sputtered out in mid-summer at about 56 percente of the country's population of 10.7 million being vaccinated.
That's far short of the 70 percent that health authorities said is needed to beat back the pandemic, with the continued health crisis also cutting into hopes of a faster economic recovery with the government relying on a failed persuasion pitch.
Anti-vaxxers don't believe the vaccines that have slowed the pandemic and saved countless lives are safe or effective or that they are part of an international conspiracy to alter their DNA and control their minds and have led violent protests and targeted doctors and health workers.