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Greece’s rough roadmap for gradual lockdown lifting

The Committee of epidemiologists and other health experts advising the Greek government will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, March 17, to assess the epidemiological situation and to consider when and how the lockdown restrictions will be lifted.

The prolonged lockdown, in the 4.5th month now, has increased citizens’ fatigue with results opposite to those expected from the measures:  increase of Covid-19 related hospitalizations and intubations.

Citizens and business people are on the verge of nervous breakdown – and some maybe already beyond that.

On Tuesday, after the long Carnival-and-Clean Monday weekend, the government has leaked information to the press that ‘both health experts and government officials are to adhere to the original plan for a partial lifting of measures in retail and catering.”

Further it has been said that “the goal is to enable citizens and businesses to relax, since what is recorded is that the lockdown does not work since the daily cases instead of decreasing are increasing.”

Already last week a few media reported roughly of a road map prepared by the government with the aim also to open for tourists by mid-May.

The gradual reopening of economic and social activities on March 22 and 29, 2021, media report on Tuesday.

Hairdressers could open first, the retail a week later.

There is reportedly also consideration for a shorter curfew on weekends: that is to start at 9 pm and not at 7 pm (Athens & Thessaloniki), 6 pm in other regions.

Also the restriction for <6> “personal exercise” within municipality boundaries may be lifted and allow citizens to enjoy the fresh air on the mountains or at the sea not only on foot but also by car.

The rough roadmap for gradual reopening foresees:

Retail

It would open only with click away and click in shop for shoes and clothes stores.

An additional number <13031> for sms only for retail shopping will go in force, and there will be a time limit of 3 hours.

Services

There are strong indications that also hair- and nail salons and beauty parlors will open.

Schools

Online education until March 29. Gradual opening in the first April week, priority are Gymnasiums and Lycees that have been in online classes a total of 7 months since March 2020.

Probably a week later, opening of primary education and kindergartens.

Restaurants, cafes etc

The initial plan was that restaurants and cafes open only outdoors in mid-April, however, after the dramatic increase in new infections, the government reportedly backed down.

Now there is consideration to reopen the sector on April 19 with sitting customers only and safety distance, when the weather conditions will be improved and the rate of inoculated population will be increased.

  • According to the government, citizens over 60 years old will be inoculated by the end of April.

Movement between regional units

Restrictions most possible to start at the end of April, while the end of obligatory sms is considered to take place in May.

Note that the Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated this year on May 2 and a mass exodus of Greeks to villages and the countryside is considered as certain.

Tourists

According to state and Tourism officials the first tourists will be allowed in the country with either “vaccination certificate” or negative PRC test or antibodies test as of May 14.

It is reportedly being considered that tourists from Israel and some EU countries no longer in “red” may allowed to come to Greece earlier.

Bars, Concerts, Gyms

The plan reportedly aims to gradually open them in June and July, bars initially open until 1 o’ clock after midnight.

Hospitals in Attica

Independently of the government plans and the epidemiologists evaluations for the lockdown measures, another “extremely difficult week kicked in for the National Health System (ESY) on Monday as intensive care units in Attica approached 100% capacity and hospital admissions remained at a high level.”

Attica’s 300 Covid ICU beds are full, media reported on Tuesday morning.
More information on coronavirus in Greece here.

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10 comments

  1. so, we know lockdowns dont work, but we can’t admit we were wrong, so we’re going to keep you locked up for months longer just to save face.
    they forgot the last step on their programme: trials and sentences for those who imposed this criminally insane ‘lockdown’ on us.

  2. Sorry, but Easter is on May 2, not 9.

  3. Ah!! The penny seems to have finally be dropping, so if they admit on the 17th that lockdown isn’t working, why have a gradual lifting of the lockdown as they suggest? Just abandoned it!
    Hang on sorry…….. that’s too easy, best to do it the complicated way, what was I thinking, I forgot this is Greece

  4. why is there such an emphasis on hairdressers opening. I mean surely there is more important things to open first than getting your hair cut?

    • Yes, when I tell my friends in New York that hairdressers open BEFORE schools, even before elementary schools, they don’t get it. Vanity before your child’s education?

  5. Of course the lockdown is working! To claim otherwise is pure gnorance. Without the lockdown the numbers would be extremely high and the hospitals would be overwhelmed and there would be hundreds of deaths. The numbers as of today are because we have been in a lockdown- relatively low.

    • Perhaps the people who think that the lockdown is working, should ask the 3458 people who were tested positive for COVID today if THEY think the lockdown is working

  6. Hi KTG,

    Regarding movement between regional units. Did you mean restrictions most possible to end (not start) at the end of April?

    And to everyone who thinks lockdowns don’t work, the covid cases and death rate would be much higher if everything was open and we were all moving around and socialising freely. Look at what happened in Ireland – they had relatively low covid rates compared to many EU countries late last year, they opened for Christmas and covid cases skyrocketed. The challenge of controlling the virus spreading in Greece and other countries during this second and third wave is more about the covid variants from the UK and South Africa which have been detected in waste water analysis at increasing rates and which are far more contagious than the original covid strain. Also the ongoing systemic problems such as Athens public transport being overcrowded which commuters jammed in like sardines can do nothing about. I understand the lockdown fatigue and wanting things to return to normal, I am living in Greece too. But we have to care about others, and the reality is people are still dying, the daily cases rates are very high and the ICU units are full. Anything other than a cautious, staggered re-opening coupled with fast vaccine rollout to reach herd immunity before high summer would be irresponsible.