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Greece extends lockdown restrictions for one more week, until May 4

Lockdown restrictions are extended for one more week, until May 4, 2020, government spokesman Stelios Petsas announced on Thursday. According to the last decision, the lockdown restrictions were to expire on April 27, but like many other countries, Greece also evaluates the development of the coronavirus curve every two weeks and acts accordingly. The extension is not a surprise as it coincides with 14 days after the Easter weekend, where Greeks may have indeed violated the social distancing thus helping spread the virus.

“Following the success of the plan shown in the case and victim diagrams compared to other EU countries with a corresponding population,” the Prime Minister will announce the gradual lifting of the restrictions beginning of next week, April 27 or 28, the gradual lifting of the restrictions, the spokesman added.

In an address to the nation Kyriakos Mitsotakis will reveal when and how the slow return to normality will start.

“The transition to the new normality will be slow and will develop in successive stages, successively in May and June,” Petsas said.

“At each stage, the impact on the health of the population will be assessed and we will move forward week by week,” he underlined.

He added that “the prime minister is expected to note that the return to normalcy must include measures to continue the free movement.”

Petsas also said that the government’s intention is to lift the obligation of Movement Permits, that is to send SMS or to have handwritten form as of May 4. However, the free movement for the elderly and vulnerable groups can be permitted later and not immediately.

According to media reports, the final decisions are expected to be taken in the upcoming weekend.

The big “thorn” is the re-opening of schools. Some experts favor the immediate reopening, while others argue that especially kindergartens and primary schools should remain closed, as young children cannot easily comply with hygiene rules and social distancing.

One proposal reportedly favors the opening of the remaining schools to gradually start as from May 25 to June 1, and a brief  extension of the school year. The opening of university amphitheaters is scheduled for September.

According to the circulating scenarios, small stores, hairdressers and beauty salons are expected to start on May 4, big shopping malls after May 20. Reopening of cafes, bars and restaurants is scheduled to take place May 25 to June 5..

The successful dealing with the pandemic will enable the first swimming in the sea in early June. Beaches are expected to open again and swimming ban to be lifted in the first ten days of June, and this will happen in keeping safety distance and avoid crowding.

Hotels and hotels are expected to open in June. The opening will be in two phases: first those hotels operating all through the year will open possibly on June 15, while seasonal hotels and tourists accommodation facilities could open on July 1.

Of course, this schedule of the gradual lifting of the lockdown restrictions is not official and as mentioned above, one has to wait for the official announcements by the Prime Minister.

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  1. I really wish the government would take a closer look at the evolving data showing that there is virtually no difference in outcome regarding lockdown or no lockdown. With IT and GR such comparable cultures and responses, but wildly different outcomes; and or Finland and Sweden such comparable cultures and completely different lockdown approaches, but oddly similar outcomes. The long term effect against the 3rd or 2nd most important(?) industry(tourism) is too high a cost if they don’t get it open. If seasonal hotels can not open more than 3 months this year they will not be economically viable. Many will not open at all because of that. (Ie the gov imposed labour costs are so severe that usually such resorts operate at a loss in mar, apr, may,june and only really feel a profit by september.). I already know of one 5star all inclusive that has locally announced it will not open in 2020 because it already passed the target opening date where they can make a profit. These windows of opportunity will rapidly close for many throughout May.
    I think the gov should have confidence that crowding can not happen when the air industry is shut down, and allow opening for those hotels that can accept people who may travel by car or ferry.
    The gov also needs to reassess the evidence of vitamin d (which is enjoyed from exposure to sun on beaches of greece and lowers risk of coronavirus sickness substantially. One general study suggests 4 times more likely to be a victim of corona virus if you are deficient. Open the beaches.

  2. One can not avoid thinking that the suffering of the public has not gone far enough yet. As Vasilis points rightly out there’s no difference between non-locked-down and locked-down countries when it comes to cases and deaths. So what’s the agenda behind extending lock-downs? Has the fabric of society not been destroyed enough yet? Must society be totally smashed before the lock-down can be lifted? I doubt that many of the forced-closed businesses shall be viable again. Greece has been thrown back not years but by decades by the lock-down.

  3. i live in the UK where the government failed to take the sort of actions taken very quickly by the Greek Governement, with nearly 20,000 deaths and the death figures averaging 700 pe day expected for the next week at least. If the uk goiverment had acted as the greek government did, swiftly and with determination, i belive many lives would not have been lost. Think very carefully before you criticise your government !

  4. Yeah sure – Sweden is not under lock down and elderly people in cere homes are dying like flies – good work.

    I’m living on Zakynthos and to be honest – i personally don’t want to see any tourist here on this island. Not from Italy, not from Germany, not from Bulgary, not from the Netherlends and of course not from Sweden.
    We have a population of 40.000 people and a lot of them are over 60. We have a hospital without an ICU and 4 ventilators. I don’t want to see the elderly here in on this Island will die because we got tourists from outside this year. You know what: The owners of big hotels are always mourning that the season was bad ….. and most of the owners have houses and estates that goes into millions. Now they can mourn …….
    The only people i feel sorry for are the waiters, cleaners and everybody that works from season to season and have to get 2 or 3 jobs in the season to have enough money for the winter to survive.

    Not even the people who have studios and AirBnb’s i’m sorry for as most of them have enough money to withstand one crushed season – and their properties are 9 out of 10 times without mortgage here. It couldn’t be that bad when most of the people, who owns tourist business here, send their children to Athens, or even abroad, for study and pay them flat, car and outcome. If money is short let them come home for a season and use the money otherwise.
    Sorry to say but that what Vasilies statet is, in great parts, bullshit.
    What the Greeks should do is to unite against all the big players in the tourist business and show them the middle finger.
    A big german tourist company offers contracts to hotels now, that states, that every tourist who will be infected via his stay here with coronavirus has to be compensated by the hotel. WTF???? Kick them out and go the way to individual tourism not mass tourism like Kefalonia. And then pay your employees enough money so that they can build up some reserves for crisis times. That is the really shame here ……

    Sorry for the ranting ……

  5. Yes they have.
    I didn‘t see it personally, tough i‘m trying to get my hands on one to publish it to the media, but rumors are spread here from more than one side.