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Greek Church Will Obey, Enforce COVID-19 Rules, Archbishop Says

ATHENS – With some resistance in rebellious religious sects not wanting to abide by measures to control the spread of COVID-19, Archbishop Ieronymos said the Church will obey the requirements as cases are starting to rise again.

He said the Church will implement the social distancing and safety rules announced by the government, including that people in churches be at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart, and with masks required in closed indoor public spaces.

“From the first moment the pandemic appeared, our Church stood, as it should, with all its strength, on the side of the responsible Greek government and the Greek people, for the effective tackling of this national ordeal,” Ieronymos said in a written response to journalists’ questions.

He didn't mention that early on as a March 23 lockdown was going into effect that the Church didn't want to follow the rules and wanted to allow giving Holy Communion despite warnings it could easily spread the virus through a shared spoon. 

But now worry is growing, even that there could be a second lockdown as many Greeks refuse to obey the rules, won't wear masks, won't stay apart and are crowding bars and taverns and engaging in wild parties, especially on islands. 

While the first few days of August say police on average handing out more than 200 fines of 150 euros ($177.60) to violators, the ignoring or defiance of the health measures has continued. Religious festivals have been banned for the summer as well.

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