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Lockdown easing: Greeks return to “new normalcy” with masks and gloves

After 43 days of lockdown, Greeks returned to normalcy at 6 o’ clock Monday morning without having to hold a movement permit to leave their homes. However, the lockdown easing has new rules and that is the mandatory use of mask in several occasions. And this is Greeks’ new normalcy.

Wearing masks and trying to keeping safety distance, people flocked to buses, metro, tram and trains as several stores opened again and workers needed to be in their work places in time.

Wearing orange vests special “helpers” are assigned to instruct commuters how to behave on public transport means: no crowding, keep distance, wearing a mask.

Wearing a mask is mandatory for both workers and citizens in public transport means and taxi, hospitals and other health facilities and elevators. for rule violators there is a fine of 150 euros.

It is recommended in enclosed spaces such as supermarkets and other enclosed spaces.

Weaning gloves is not mandatory, except for special categories of workers, however, many citizens do wear them to contain infections from surfaces such as in public transport means and elevators.

Some 68,000 people, employees and employers, return to work after obligatory suspension of operation since March 14.

The first businesses to open were those of hairdressers and barbershops, allowed to receive clients as early as 7 o’ clock in the morning. They work with extended working hours until 10 o’ clock at night due to strict rules regarding the number of customers at a time.

Hairdresser in Thessaloniki – via thestival.

Already before the re-opening, men and women made their appointments to have their hair cut or colored.

“With 300 appointments, we are fully booked for the next weeks,” my hairdresser told me.

My cousin who went to barbershop said that as the owner did not make telephone appointments in advance, there were 3 customers inside and some 10-12 waiting in queue outside. He estimated to get rid of his unkempt hair in a few days.

As the physical contact is inevitable strictest hygiene rules like self-protection and disinfection are implemented.

While in some areas, the situation seems under control, in some others citizens formed long queues and crowded outside banks like in Katerini, West Macedonia.

Greek authorities keep emphasizing that easing the lockdown is the start of a “difficult stage that needs special attention” to prevent mass infections with the coronavirus.

Personal responsibility, self-protection and hygiene are top on the agenda that will take Greeks to the next phase with the opening of more businesses next week.

The new slogan is “Stay Safe” and the main instruction is: Washing Hands, Keeping Distance, Wearing Mask.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Monday morning that “return to normalcy has a risk.”

PS what is odd in contrast to the previous days is that only a few people are hanging out in the small park of our neighborhood. I suppose, people went out “to check which shops are open” as several friends told me on Sunday when I asked them what were their plans for the first day of lockdown easing.

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