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Masks On, Masks Off in Greece, But Keep Them Handy in Case

ATHENS – Phew, the COVID-19 masks are off in Greece outdoors but the New Democracy government's advisory panel of doctors and scientists said don't toss them out just yet.

Masks are still required indoors as vaccinations are gradually beating back the pandemic but caution abounds and people are advised to have masks just in case they are needed in some outdoor settings that could get crowded.

“The country’s epidemiological profile is satisfactory. We can make plans for the summer, but we must not let our guard down,”Vana Papaevangelou, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Athens, told Kathimerini.

“We do not throw away the masks, we always keep them with us,” she added. “Masks are still the best protection from the virus,” she said.

Masks are still required in closed spaces, including transport and shops.

Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias also said that the curfew that now is only from 1:30-5 a.m. will end as of June 28 as restaurants, bars and taverns were clamoring for relief.

likely end sometime over the summer announced that, starting Monday, 

“Our daily lives are changing dramatically for the better,” Hardalias said as he announced further easing of what's left of restrictions  on Wednesday, also announcing further relaxations of the restrictions.

At the same time, workers who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to self-test while reporting to work, the conditions applied too to people going to gyms, 15 days after getting their second shot.

In bars, cafes and restaurants, 10 people can now share a table and the number of guests allowed at receptions is raised to 300. On organized beaches, there will be a maximum of 120 customers per 1,000 square meters of beach.

A few months after cases surpassed more than 3,000 daily, there were 520 on June 23 and 14 deaths, the fall attributed to the rising number of vaccinations which is approaching one-third of the country.

Papaevangelou said cases have dropped 40 percent on a weekly basis and the average age of those diagnosed has now dropped to 32. 

“We can attribute that to younger persons’ greater mobility, the fact that more of them are on vacation and that they are still not completely vaccinated,” she said, adding that in major tourist destinations, the average age of newly infected people is in the early 20s, the report also added.

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