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Vaccinated? Unvaccinated? Who Can Go Where in Greece Confusing

November 19, 2021

ATHENS – New health restrictions aimed at the unvaccinated in Greece who are spreading COVID-19 will include staggered working times for public and private offices, exemptions, and three categories of public venues, adding to the confusion and mixed messages coming from the New Democracy government.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who backed away from a pledge to consider mandatory shots if the pandemic worsened – it has – instead said that the unvaccinated, made up largely of anti-vaxxers, are now locked out of most public gathering places and won’t be allowed in even with a negative test.

Government officials insisted that the measures aren’t punishment for the unvaccinated but an attempt to slow the spread of the virus without explaining why shots wouldn’t be required to do that.

Health Minister Thanos Plevris and the General Secretary for Commerce and Consumer Protection, Sotiris Anagnostopoulos, gave reporters details of the abundance of details around the new measures that begin Nov. 22.

Mitsotakis has focused on accelerating a slow economic recovery that hit hard at non-essential businesses that were closed for months during previous lockdowns and said he wants to avoid that again even as cases, deaths, hospitalizations and people on ventilators in public hospitals keep rising.

The plan includes staggered shifts at public and private offices, starting from between 7 a.m. and 9.30 a.m., to relieve congestion on public transportation and make physical distancing easier in the workplace.

Retail stores, meanwhile, will open later, at 10 a.m., and close at 9 p.m. (on weekdays) for the same reason, said Kathimerini, although there are no apparent restrictions on people jammed into buses, subways and trams.

Food outlets, pharmacies and supermarkets also are exempt and will allow the unvaccinated to mix with the vaccinated in an area where many numbers of people gather, continuing a high-risk zone.

A second category includes schools and other educational institutions, churches and places of worship, retail stores, hair and beauty salons, and open-air cafes and bars, where the unvaccinated must show a valid certificate of recovery from COVID-19 or a recent negative PCR or rapid test. The vaccinated also have to show a certificate at the door. Both categories will also need to show ID.

But the unvaccinated can’t go into restaurants, museums, theaters, cinemas or gyms unless they have proof of vaccination or recovery from the Coronavirus along with identification, the report added.

Minors aged 4-17 must show a negative self-test taken within 24 hours of admission to any of the venues in the second and third category, Plevris said, noting that vaccines are not authorized for many people in this age group.

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