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Society

More Trouble on Mykonos: Two Beach Bars Suspended Over COVID-19

September 2, 2020

One of the major hotspots for COVID-19 in Greece, the hedonist island of Mykonos where anything goes, is still a key source for the Coronavirus, two beach bars ordered temporarily shut after at least 10 members tested positive.

The decision to temporarily suspend the operation of Nammos and Scorpios on Paraga beach – for two days – was announced by the Secretary General of Civil Protection Vassilis Papageorgiou following the results of tests, said Kathimerini. 

Civil Protection staff were working to trace contacts of people who tested positive but it wasn't said how that would be possible given the mass, anonymous crowding in beach bars and Greece not having mandatory mobile phone apps to be able to find people in contact with those infected.

The island has also been the scene of wild partying, including at private villas, where people were not wearing masks nor keeping the required safe social distance of at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart.

The New Democracy government was lauded for bringing an early lockdown March 23 that closed non-essential businesses up to 10 week and held down the number of cases and fatalities but has opened the economy again, including to tourists allowed to enter beginning in July.

Defiance of health measures, which led to more being imposed, and travelers bringing in COVID-19 has seen the numbers spike so high it's been called a second wave the government is scrambling to contain.

Three other islands – Spetses, Poros and Antiparos – had been locked down temporarily after outbreaks there but not Mykonos, a major revenue source for the government eager to rake in cash before summer's end.

Besides scenes of people crowded together at bars, there have been reports of giant parties in private villas with no explanation why the authorities haven't, as the island's officials requested, sent squads of police to enforce the regulations.

Greek authorities temporarily closed down Alemagou, one of Mykonos’ most popular beach bars, after seven staff members tested positive for the virus and more than 80 people were told to self-quarantine with no report how that could be enforced.

It was the second time the bar has been closed during the pandemic, shut for 60 days n June and the owners fined 20,000 euros ($23,577.70) but reopening again, indicating it's so profitable even big fines won't stop disobedience.

Early in August, Mayor Konstantinos Kostas had requested health teams visited the island amid mounting concern over safety violations at bars and nightclubs, the report said as the government didn't respond.

"The protection of public health is not only a duty but is the necessary precondition for maintaining the good image of the country and of the island internationally," he said, but Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is trying to balance the need to save lives against saving an economy brought down by the pandemic.

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