ATHENS – The success to date of Greece's plan for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, especially in comparison with other European countries with roughly similar populations was "not a snapshot to put in the archives" but a daily reminder of why the measures were taken to start with, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said in the press briefing on Monday. The goal of the strict measures, he pointed out, was not to stay at home forever but to be able, at some point, to "get back to our lives".
As Petsas said, the philosophy and the gradual stages of the plan for Greece's transition to exiting lockdown will be announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday at 18:00, in a nationwide televised address to Greek citizens, after which each ministers will present the details of the plan in its area of responsibility.
Petsas said that the transition to normality will be carried out gradually and in a coordinated manner, based on a plan. After the end of the restrictive measures in effect until May 4, "the government's coordinated plan will start to be unveiled in phases, in May and June." The easing of the measures will be done with some distance between each step so that the impact in terms of the pandemic can be evaluated, he said.
According to Petsas, "first to open will be hairdressers and smaller enterprises, with specific rules governing contact with customers. Afterwards, and gradually, this will be followed by the opening of schools, then larger businesses, stores and restaurants, always with specific rules and provided everything is going smoothly with regard to the population's health.
Churches will open for personal worship from the early stages of the lifting of measures while, at a later stage, the churches will open with specific rules and protections measures. The year-round hotels will open first, followed by seasonal hotels after transport has been restored from the end of June, early July.
The government spokesperson stressed that current restrictions will remain in force until May 4, noting that gatherings or excursions to celebrate Labour Day may jeopardise everything Greece has achieved so far.
He explained that all the events for the celebration of Labour Day will be transferred to the first Saturday after restrictions are lifted.
Referring to the action taken with respect to public health, Petsas said that the govenrment is continuing intensive efforts to strengthen the country's health system, with the hiring of additional staff, the creation of more intensive care units and the supply of medical equipment.
Regarding the recent European Union summit, Petsas said that it was clear that the pandemic will trigger a major recession on a European and global level and that, unfortunately, Greece will be unable to escape this crisis. "We are trying to minimise the repercussions and to return to growth rates as soon as possible," he said. He noted that, at the EU summit, the Greek prime minister had highlighted the importance of the free movement of good and services, as well as European citizens, and made it clear that a plan, on a Community level, is necessary for the normalisation of transport services, especially of air transport, as soon as possible.