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Thousands of Athenians left for villages before lockdown, sweeping police checks

Thousands of Athenians left the Greek capital just before the second lockdown kicked off and kept moving to the countryside also on Saturday. The majority left by land towards the North and the South, while some traveled to the islands for a short weekend escape.

According to traffic police, from 6 am to 5 pm Friday, a total of 43,996 vehicles left through the Athens-Corinth and the Athens-Lamia national highway toll stations. Of these, 22,780 cars headed south in the direction of Corinth and 21,216 north towards Lamia.

Media reported that 130,000 vehicles left Athens from Wednesday to Friday.

The TrainOSe said that the train service between Athens and Thessaloniki in both directions will operate through the weekend (Nov. 7 and 8) despite the lockdown due to high demand.

Lockdown restrictions allow travel between the regional units only for specific reasons such as the return of people to their primary residence and this is just once during the 3-week period.

With the majority of businesses shut down, some Athenians chose to move to their villages for a life with more quality during the period that challenges people economically, practically and psychologically.

Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chrysochoidis warned of strict checks at toll posts throughout the country for those returning from their recent trips.

“Everyone should know that, as of Saturday morning, only the return of those that are permanently resident in the place they are returning to will be permitted,” he said.

On the first day of the lockdown, some 5,000 policemen are out on the streets of Athens and broader Attica conducting sweeping controls as citizens are practically not permitted even to move from their residence municipality to another one.

Media report of helicopters and drones assisting police’s work from the air.

At the same time, prosecutors are working in shifts in case police ‘discovers’ private parties in homes, rooftops and basements.

Chrysochoidis appealed to people to avoid gatherings, adding that there will be sweeping checks in the presence of a prosecutor in order to prevent the phenomena observed in the past that caused so much damage regarding the spread of the coronavirus.

IT should be noted that the fine for violating movement restrictions and the mandatory use of masks has been raised to 300 euros from 150.

PS The arrogant minister did not elaborate why he and the police turned a blind eye to such damaging phenomena as the recent religious gatherings in Thessaloniki


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