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Society

Greeks Hope May Will Swing Country Back to Near-Normal Life

ATHENS – With the conditional reopening of restaurants for outdoor dining and the tourism season opening on May 15 – some foreign visitors already allowed – the month of May is already seeing Greeks trying to resume life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus is still claiming lives and putting people on ventilators in public hospitals but an accelerating vaccination campaign still in the nascent stages is showing signs of being effective.

That was enough for the New Democracy government to further ease already lenient lockdown conditions and has seen many people scrapping masks and safe social distancing despite health advisories it's not safe yet to do that.

Still, the advent of warmer spring weather coming after a late Easter when people were allowed to attend church services has brought a spirit of hope and optimism that the pandemic will be beaten although warnings remain.

The United States issued a travel advisory for Americans that Greece isn't safe yet, and the United Kingdom won't let its residents come although they were on a list of those from countries approved for entry.

Remaining restrictions will likely be lifted in May, including ending a requirement that people wanting to leave their homes for permissible reasons send a text message to the government, already abandoned by many.

High school seniors had already returned to class and other students will as well in May, but are required to self-test but no report how that is enforced and if students can say they did even if they didn't.

Inter-regional travel is also expected to be allowed as of May 15 when tourists come, said Kathimerini so that Greeks can move about as well as tourists who must show proof of vaccination or a negative Coronavirus test.

The paper said that Greeks moving between regions will likely also have to meet the same requirements although there's not enough vaccine doses to inoculate everyone before summer ends.

Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis warned against public complacency as he told state broadcaster ERT, “We are reopening food businesses but the virus is still here. The risk is not over yet,” and the battle far from over.

“We do not want to curb anyone’s freedom, but the virus needs to be kept under control,” he also said.

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