ATHENS – Trying to lure tourists and still save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his New Democracy government will make sure people comply with what's left of health measures after a lenient lockdown has essentially been lifted.
He said there will be strict checks for compliance although many, if not most, people have largely abandoned masks in most places and aren't keeping safe social distances as a lagging vaccination program has nevertheless worked to hold down cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
New conditions will go into effect July 15 for indoor leisure activities including dining inside in restaurants so far allowed only outside service, which is being defied in some cases already.
Sports venues, both indoor and outdoor, will open to the public then and concerts are being allowed but only those who are fully vaccinated or willing to take PCR tests will be allowed to attend although it wasn't said if that also applies to the performers.
“We must focus our attention on recreation, in events that can draw an excess number of people and spur a large outbreak among attendees,” Mitsotakis said about the plan to allow activities but monitor them.
That came after there was a 75 percent rise in the number of active Coronavirus cases in country with worry that the Indian Delta variant will be the dominant strain and could undercut tourism hopes.
Even as he said the measures would be enforced, however, there have been scees of wild parties in restaurants on islands, particularly Mykonos, and other incidents showing hundreds or more people in public gatherings so far.