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Phase II: Greece Rolls Back COVID-19 Lockdown Further

ATHENS – It seems like it’s been a long time coming, but Greece is edging back to normalcy – cautiously – with more restrictions put in place to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic lifted on May 11.

That comes a week after small stores were allowed to open their doors although protocols remain in place to limit the number of customers and try to make them stay at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart even if impractical.

Remaining retail stores that had been shut down when the lockdown began March 23 got the go-ahead to open as did the final grade of high school classes with students needing to prepare for university entrance exams, while other junior high and senior high school students return next week.

But shopping malls and department stores and mega-stores will stay closed for now but reopening after the first wave are businesses such as clothing and hardware stores, beauty product places and a range of others.

A government deputy minister said about 25 percent of all businesses forced to close in mid-March will re-open, about 155,000 people reporting back to work. Many of the shops will have late opening hours and all will have to enforce crowd distancing measures. Hotels, restaurants and bars remain closed for now.

Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the reopenings are being guided by the medical and scientific team he put together that advised on the lockdown procedures.

They were credited with helping hold down the number of deaths and cases among the lowest in the world for major countries affected by the virus. There were no deaths reported May 10, leaving the toll at 150, with 2,716 cases.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)

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