ATHENS – Another grim COVID-19 year is coming to an end but before it’s over 2021 could likely see more health restrictions recommended to deal with an expected rise of the Omicron Variant across Greece, keeping more people home.
The New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has moved toward concentrating on an economic recovery further and eased back measures for the holidays but his panel of doctors and scientists and doctors is said to be urging they be tightened again.
They will meet Dec. 27, said Kathimerini, a few days ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations and amid reports that some nightclubs have ignored or defied measures to check customers to see if they are free of the virus.
The government has put forward a mixed bag of measures that included cancelling state and city-run celebrations and requiring the wearing of masks indoors and out, with KN95 or double masks mandated for supermarkets.
But entertainment venues are still open and Greek TV showed nightclubs packed to the rafters and one, after being closed, reopening again unlawfully after cutting off the police locks, no reports of prosecutions.
There were also scenes of people walking about without masks and going into retail businesses and restaurants without being checked despite a government vow to put out 10,000 police and inspectors to stop violations.
Among the new measures that could soon be put in place – earlier reports said they would begin Jan. 3, 2022 – include having half of public and private workers doing their jobs from home.
Also, earlier closing of catering and entertainment venues still allowed to be open, but with a ban on letting customers stand, prohibiting music in restaurants and bars and limiting or barring spectators at sporting events.
Sources not named told the newspaper that health officials have found a 1000 percent increase in the Omicron Variant in sewage in the most populous prefecture of Attica which includes the Greek capital.
But Education Minister Niki Kerameus again said schools would open after the holidays no matter how bad the pandemic gets, telling SKAI TV that, “There are no discussions for remoting teaching at this time.”