ATHENS – New rules were introduced in Greece as of 06:00 on Saturday to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, focusing on restricting unvaccinated people from entry into retail stores, banks, hair salons and outdoor cafes/restaurants without tests, and doubling the requirement for weekly tests at work.
The law was published on Friday night in the Government Gazette, making the regulations effective through Monday, November 22 (06:00).
Customers must present a full-vaccination certificate, or a certificate of having contracted Covid within the last six months, or negative rapid or PCR test results in order to enter stores including malls, hair and beauty salons and wellness businesses, outdoor areas of eateries, luna parks, zoos, and entertainment areas. The exceptions include pharmacies, churches, and supermarkets. In addition, young people aged 4 to 17 may provide negative self-tests as alternatives to the four certifications above.
People without tests may order through the click-away method of ordering by phone or online and physically picking up goods outside the store.
Restrictions were also imposed on workers in the public and private sectors, who must present a negative rapid or PCR test twice a week, instead of once as was required since the start of October. The first test must be done by November 8.
Cafes and restaurants
Food-related places with indoor eating areas can operate on full (100%) seating capacity but only for people fully vaccinated or who have contracted Covid the last six months and carry related documentation. The restrictions include eating places in stoas, malls, and long-distance transportation stations.
Places that operate in the open air will be required to ask for either of the two certificates (full vaccination or Covid), or either of the tests (rapid or PCR). Those aged 4 to 17 may alternatively present a self test. The regulations include wine bars that have sample testing events, catering services, and outdoor cafes or restaurants that are part of hotels.
People without full vaccination or recent Covid infection are not allowed in indoor hotel and airport food places that serve only hotel guests or travellers. Catered and indoor events in hotels are under the same restrictions.
Take-away, delivery, and drive-through services are allowed to all customers regardless of certification, as long as they do not enter any of the premises.
Open markets, sports events
Open markets (laikes agores) are expected to keep a meter of space between the stalls, spreading to more streets if necessary.
Spectators at sports events must wear a mask at all times, otherwise the home team or organizers will be fined, and spectators banned from future games.
Workplaces, public services
High-risk staff may work from home or be placed in areas that do not require direct transactions with the public.
Appointments are required for public sector services, except for banks, courier services, the Hellenic Post Offices, the Public Power Corporation, Athens Water and Sewage, and such public utilities. But people wishing to enter banks in particular must present at the door any of the four required documents as mentioned above, while 4- to 17-year-olds may present a self test as an alternative to the other tests.
Entertainment places, including receptions, music stages and music bars, may only allow fully vaccinated or people who have contracted Covid the last six months. The restrictions include indoor or outdoor spaces, and the certificates will be checked at the door.
In all of the above, masks are obligatory at all places, except for those working by themselves in private offices. Masks are in general also obligatory wherever crowds tend to gather outdoors. Exceptions to mask-wearing include people who have been exempted for medical reasons (with written proof) and children under 4 years of age.
Duration of negative test proof
– PCR tests: the test has to have been carried out within the last 72 hours before using it to enter a space.
– Rapid tests: the test has to have been carried out within the last 48 hours before use.
Both must have been issued by officially recognized labs or pharmacies, whether private or public, and include the full name of the person (as shown on a police ID or passport).
– Self-tests: the test has to have been carried out within the last 24 hours and be registered on the site self-testing.gov.gr.
– Certificate of Covid infection: This must be certified through the PCR test or a follow-up to a rapid test, within 30 days of the first positive result. It is valid for up to 180 days after the first positive result.