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Gov’t to announce measures for Christmas holidays, retail stores and churches

Greece’s government spokesman said on Tuesday that the final decisions on lockdown restrictions and their partial lifting over the holidays of Christmas and the New Year will be announced on upcoming Friday.

Speaking to ANT1 TV Stelios Petsas said refered among other to the opening of retail stores, churches and hair-salons but also whether some people such as students will be allowed to travel to another regional unit.

“We cannot open retail stores, but not the churches,” Petsas said.

Regarding the retail stors he said that people will be allowed to shop outside their municipality area, however, the SMS exit authorization will remain.

He indicated that the night curfew that starts at 9:00 p.m. will be shorter so that citizens can do their shopping without crowding and workers have time to return home.

He also indicated possible current 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew might be made shorter, in the event that shops reopen over the holidays.

“Naturally, [curfew] hours will have to be adjusted if retail reopens,” he said. “First because operating hours will be extended to prevent overcrowding and second so that people have enough time to get back home.”

Note that under normal circumstances, stores would be open on the upcoming Sundays.

Regarding traveling between regional units, Petsas said that there will be “some flexibility” for students trapped away from home because of the  lockdown and for people who work away from their main residence so that they can spend the Christmas holidays with their families..

However, he urged citizens to refrain from going to their summer houses.

In other statements on Monday, Petsas reportedly left a window open for shorter curfew on Christmas’ Eve and Christmas Day as well on the 1st of the Year. The exception will affect a total of four days.

In an interview with Alpha TV on Monday evening, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that citizens can spend Christmas with another family, maximum 9 people.

Nevertheless, health experts told media on Tuesday that they are concerned about the opening of retail stores and churches fearing crowding of masses of people.


Citizens in Thessaloniki were seen queued and waited for lights and decoration outside Christmas shops on Monday, the first day they were allowed to open.

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One comment

  1. In the article it states that: “Regarding the retail stors … people will be allowed to shop outside their municipality area…” Does that mean that under the current rules essential shopping for food etc can only be done within your municipality? I don’t recall seeing this specified anywhere.

    Also it seems a bit odd if you can exercise anywhere in your prefecture, as stated by Mitsotakis’ spokesperson but you can only shop in your municipality? I drive to the shop in my car which is not a threat to anyone. I go from my car to the shop and back to my car. Wherever the shop is the risk from that movement is the same. I agree to restricting people to stay in their prefecture, since the infection rates are known to be very different, but I am not sure what benefit restricting people to their municipality for one activity but not for another serves.