ATHENS — The Greece 2.0 recovery plan is one of the first 12 national recovery plans adopted by the ECOFIN Council, in what is historic moment for Greece, government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said on Thursday, starting the regular government press briefing.
"The aim now is the optimal and fastest possible use of the funds from the Recovery Facility, which amoung to 30.5 billion euros for our country," she said, adding that the first four billion are due to be disbursed by the end of July and 7.5 billion by the end of the year.
This will permit the government to put its plan for strong and sustainable growth in motion, acting as a lever for the transformation of the Greek economy toward a more open, competitive, innovatine, equitable, smart and green productive model, she said. The funds will be used to support investments and reforms for a green and digital transition in all areas of the economy, she said.
Peloni reported a sharp rise in new Covid-19 cases but emphasised that the situation this year was completely different due to the existence of the vaccine, stressing that everyone must join in the effort to persuade those who were still unconvinced regarding the safety, effectiveness and necessity of the vaccine to get vaccinated, to protect themselves, their families and society as a whole.
"The choice is clear: We either get vaccinated or we fall ill," she repeated, calling on every to to "rally around a shared reality and realise that common rules do not divide but unite."
She said that 5,330,000 million people in Greece have had at least one dose of the vaccine, while 4,430,000 are now fully vaccinated.
Peloni categorically ruled out another nationwide lockdown now that the vaccine exists and said that the government may take localised measures if this becomes necessary.
On the opening of the vaccination appointment platform for 15-17 year olds, she said this will include anyone that has had their 15th birthday (anyone born before July 15, 2006) and the system will be updated every two weeks to include those that have also turned 15 in the meantime.
She also repeated the government's decision for the mandatory vaccination, based on the recommendations of the Bioethics and Technoethics Committee, of those engaged in activities linked to protecting the health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups, such as staff in care homes for the elderly and disabled or those working in healthcare.
In response to questions, she clarified that mandatory vaccination was not linked to dismissals and that the relevant legal framework will be unveiled next week.
"At the same time, the government is ensuring freedom for the many and protection for all. In this context, from July 16 until August 31, indoor places of entertainment, restaurants, cinemas and theatres will only be allowed to operate for vaccinated individuals and up to 85 pct of their capacity. Until August 31, only seated customers will be allowed in places of entertainment. Outdoor areas operated by these businesses can be Covid Free or mixed," Peloni said.
She also reminded that sports with spectators can only operate as Covid Free areas, whether indoor or outdoor, and at a capacity of 80 pct.
Fines for flouting the rules will be steep, she warned, starting at 2,000 euros and and seven-day closure for a first offence, rising to 10,000 euros and a 15-day closure for the second and a 60-day removal of the business licence for a third.
Peloni announced that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is to meet European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton on Friday at 9:00 and European Commission Vice President for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight Maros Sefcovic at 14:00.
She also announced that negotiations between the government and the creditor institutions on a debt settlement scheme for those impacted by the health crisis has concluded, with announcements to be made by Finance Minister Christos Staikouras soon.