ATHENS – After scenes showing massive wild COVID-19 parties, including one in Greee's second-largest city of Thessaloniki where some 3,000 people – mainly students – danced and listened to music deep into the night, the New Democracy government said it will try to stop them.
The Thessaloniki incident looked like a giant toga party out of the film Animal House and came during an essential lifting of an already lenient lockdown that had seen unstoppable cavorting in public squares, unchecked by police.
Ironically, while restaurants and bars are allowed to serve only outside now, they're not allowed to play music because authorities said it would make people lean too close to each to be heard over the din.
The parties though have seen people commingling without masks or keeping safe social distances, the last real remaining health measures already widely ignored as people are returning to life as it was before the pandemic struck.
Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said inspections would step up as would fines to try to stop the parties although the government earlier said it wouldn't out of fear of sparking a riot, as had happened.
“Dispersal has not been contained yet, even though there is a recession,” he stressed and referred to the new interactive epidemiological map which showed that there are 28 risky regions in Greece, with Thessaloniki last year emerging as a rebellious center of resistance against restrictions.