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Society

Masks On: Mandatory Use for Greece’s Civil Servants, Customers

ATHENS – After Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asked for clarifications on the rules on the use of face masks by the public, Greek officials said they would be mandatory in public offices by workers and customers.

It wasn't said why that hadn't been directed earlier or if it was already in effect after Mitsotakis, who is scrambling trying to get people to stop defying health protocols aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, said his New Democracy government was ready to make “local interventions” to stop violations.

An Interior Ministry circular also allows public workers in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to work from home until Aug. 31 although it wasn't clear how that could be done if operations that need to be completed require being in the office.

With the number of cases jumping again because people aren't fully obeying rules to wear masks and stay a safe social distance of at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart, the government is reluctant to order another lockdown.

The closing of non-essential businesses on March 23, lasting up to 10 weeks for some before a gradual reopening week-by-week beginning May 4 held down cases and deaths before defiance and ignorance took over.

Despite scenes of wild parties at nightclubs and bars, particularly among the young on islands, the government hasn't moved for mass shutdowns of violators, Mitsotakis balancing the economy against the Coronavirus.

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