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Economy

Greek Stores, Businesses to Return to Operation in Stages, May-June: Ministers Detail “the Day after” Lockdown

ATHENS – The public will need to wear masks when using public transportation, Deputy Infrastructure & Transport Minister Yiannis Kefalogiannis said on Tuesday, speaking after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the gradual rollback of coronavirus-related measures.

An a press conference following Mitsotakis' address, where ministers revealed details of measures, Kefalogiannis said that precautions included keeping social distancing, which would be facilitated by more frequent schedules during peak times for buses and other transportation. This will result in fewer schedules at non-peak times, which he said were from 10:00 to 14:00 and 18:00 to midnight during the week.

In addition, staff will go to work at ministries in stages, starting at 07:00. The same will hold in large businesses, to avoid crowding. To accomodate in-stage arrival, they will have to expand their operation hours, he said.

For May, there will be no restrictions in private cars in Athens based on license plate numbers, and as of May 4, a driver will be allowed two passengers per car, instead of the current two that include the driver.

Stations, seats, floors and handles will be disinfected on a a systematic basis, while only people with serious mobility issues will be allowed to use elevators at metro stations. Taxis will continue to carry a maximum one passenger, excepting a parent with underaged children or someone accompanying a person for medical reasons.

Deputy Interior Minister Theodoros Livanis said local government distant work would continue by rotation, while the public would be served by appointment only if online processing of an issue is not possible. New digital services will continue, as will the delivery of necessary papers by courier at home.

Retirees clubs like KAPI and Friendship Clubs as well as city nurseries will remain shut, but open-air athletic courts will open, keeping health rules. Children's open-air playing grounds and gyms will remain shut, he said, for the time being.

Development & Investments Deputy Minister Nikos Papathanassis said that the market would open in seven stages, one per week, and reviewed on a 24-hour basis. A total of 68,528 store employees will return gradually to work, starting with the May 4 opening of certain stores. An outline of stages goes as follows:

– May 4 openings: bookstores, car-certificate stations (KETO), sports stores, consumer goods stores, flower shops, electric appliance stores, and – by appointment only – hairdressers. Producers at open-air markets will be allowed to travel between regions to sell their produce.

– May 11: All other stores opening.

– May 18: Parks, gardens, archaeological sites, zoological gardens, and OPAP betting stores will open.

– June 1: All malls open, with one customer per 20 sq.m., wearing masks; restaurants in malls will remain shut. Restaurants and coffee shops will operate their open-air premises, not their interior spaces, and with tables at a distance of 2 meters, maximum 4 people per table; round-year hotels will also open.

– There will be three additional opening stages in June: summer theaters, with social distancing and at 60 pct capacity; municipal or theme parks and outdoor children's play areas; and interior spaces of restaurants and coffee shops, hostels and such, and sports facilities, with distances between tables.

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