Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias announces the additional restrictive measures. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Sotiris Dimitropoulos)
ATHENS – A modified third lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Greece will let people leave their homes and prefectures for exercise and work and for college students while closing non-essential businesses.
A curfew that now runs from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be more restrictive on the weekends, beginning at 5 p.m. after a second lenient lockdown failed to hold down the number of cases that were rising, along with deaths, hospital admissions and the number of people on ventilators in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs.)
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who admitted he waited too long to bring the second softer quasi-lockdown on Nov. 7, 2020, said the third would be a full lockdown but it has a number of ways for people to still leave their homes.
Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said the new restrictions will last at least until the end of February as an advisory panel of doctors and scientists will keep reviewing epidemiological data while a vaccination program continues.
Residents will only be allowed to leave home for specific reasons after notifying authorities by text message – which had been going on during the second lockdown that also allowed the use of forms from the Internet or handwritten.
Individuals will still be allowed to travel between municipalities for physical exercise, using the SMS system, Hardalias said and travel between regions will be allowed for work-related or health reasons too.
He said Hardalias said that schools of all grades, except for special education schools will return to online instruction as elementary schools, kindergartens and daycare had been operating, seeing some children and younger people being infected.
Taxis will be allowed to have two passengers, a rule that applies to private vehicles as well while the maximum passenger capacity on all public transport will be reduced to 65 percent, Hardalias said. Ferries can travel with 50 percent capacity.
The COVID-19 restrictions:
The following measures concern the region of Attica, including the islands, and the region of Trizinia:
– The use of a mask is mandatory both indoors and outdoors.
– The traffic ban is still in force from 21:00 to 5:00 on weekdays, while on weekends the ban will be in force from 18:00 until 5:00.
During the remaining hours, movement outside the home will continue to only be permissible for the six given reasons of movement and after sending an SMS and carrying the necessary documentation.
Regarding the inter-municipal movements for individual exercise, it was evaluated as a measure and it was eventually not prohibited.
Regarding travel into and out of the region of Attica, this is allowed only for the following reasons and with the presentation of the necessary supporting documents:
– travelling to and from work
– for serious health reasons
– for the purpose of a one-time transfer to the place of permanent residence
– to attend a ceremony (eg a funeral) under the conditions provided by law or going to visit a divorced parent, in accordance with the provisions in force
– for a one-time transfer of a student from the place of permanent residence to the regional unit where the university/school department is located
– for the purpose of harvesting agricultural products and always with the appropriate supporting documents
– primary and secondary education (kindergartens, primary, all-day schools, high schools and lyceums of general and vocational education) will be held via teleconference, as well as all other educational structures. The distance learning will be conducted in the morning hours for high schools and lyceums and in the afternoon for kindergartens and elementary schools, just as in the universal lockdown of November.
– the operation of nurseries and kindergartens will also be suspended, while universities will continue to operate through distance learning.
Regarding the operation of hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices and diagnostic centres, the following measures continue to apply:
– One (1) attendant/visitor per patient
– Observance of a minimum distance of one and a half (1.5) metres, except for medical procedures
– Limitation of scheduled surgeries up to 80 pct – Oncological and emergency cases, as well as special hospitals are excluded from the restrictions.
The suspension of visits to care homes/retirement homes is also extended.
Public transport vehicles will operate at 65 pct passenger capacity and while ships at 50 pct passenger capacity (55 pct if they have cabins). A driver and up to two passengers (excluding minors and people in need of assistance) are allowed in cars and taxis.
Regarding places of worship, only up to nine (9) people are allowed to attend ceremonies, such as weddings, baptisms, funerals, memorial services, etc.
With regard to sports activities, the existing measures are still in force as well as the measures that apply to archeological sites, film screenings, live performances and auditions and other performing arts, conferences and exhibitions, rehearsals and television and film shootings and recordings.
ATHENS – Women in Greece – those who survive – are coming out to report domestic violence that has become endemic in the county, with 5,705 cases in the first 10 months of 2021, when there was a rash of femicide.
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