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Society

Masks, Distancing Now Required for Greek Public Transport

ATHENS – It may seem abnormal but the New Normal of life in the time of the COVID-19 Coronavirus means when a lockdown gradually eases beginning May 4 that users of public transport will be required to wear masks and keep their distance from each other in Greece.

It wasn’t explained how that could happen on buses, trains, trams, and the Metro subway system, all of which are often packed during rush hours and – in the past – saw people jammed together like sardines in a can, crushing up against each other.

Social distancing guidelines advised people to stay at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart and for schools it will be two meters (6.56 feet) for students while class sizes will be halved and desks further apart.

While public transport will reopen to let people get to businesses as they open too on a staggered basis over the next month, officials advised people to travel only if they must, with fears the virus could resurge in public gathering spots.

Ironically, after long advising people to take public transportation instead of driving, they are now urged to use their cars instead and avoid buses, trains, trams and subways, which isn’t an option for people without vehicles.

The suspension of traffic-zone restrictions in central Athens introduced after the pandemic were extended to the end of May and car drivers will be allowed to have up to two passengers per journey, said Kathimerini.

Train platforms will be marked to help passengers keep social distancing while waiting – they are often overflowing with no room to do that – and commuters will also be prohibited from entering the front doors of buses and trolleys to protect the drivers

As before, only one passenger per taxi ride will be allowed except for a parent with minors or people escorting someone for medical reasons.

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