The Greek government announced that it is making masks mandatory in most commercial establishments, following a small spike in COVID-19 infections.
The new rules take effect on Wednesday and come as a result of the latest infection numbers. Deputy Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias announced the new measures in a press conference on Tuesday.
“We must learn to live with the use of masks,” the minister said, during the weekly briefing on the progress of the pandemic.
In addition to those areas where face masks were already obligatory, including public transportation and super markets, beginning Wednesday people will be required to wear a face mask when entering shops providing goods and services of all kinds, as well as public utility companies, banks, doctors’ surgeries, municipality buildings, food retailers (bakeries, butchers, greengrocers, etc.), hair salons and beauty parlors.
Other areas where the use of face masks is already mandatory include: public transport, taxis, supermarkets, hospitals, health centers and diagnostic centers, elevators, ships and airplanes and for staff serving customers at restaurants, cafes and bars.
The minister also recommended that Greeks wear masks indoors if people are crowded together and it is difficult to follow social distancing rules. The fine for not wearing a mask in such areas is €150 ($176).
“The increase in domestic cases should not cause either panic nor complacency,” Hardalias added, pointing out that the virus “is still here” and that health rules must be strictly followed, while he advised people to avoid large gatherings and crowds.
Hardalias reported that the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Greece was 4,193 as of July 26 while active cases number 429, according to the Athenian-Macedonian Press Agency.
Accompanied by a video containing relevant facts, the tweet reads: “Together we successfully faced the first wave of Covid-19, but the danger did not go away, and we must not forget this now in the summer. As we have been listening to the experts all this time, we are now still observing health safety measures, especially when we are gradually opening Greece to visitors.”
Since Greece reopened for tourism on July 1, a total of 1,294,798 people had entered the country by July 26, while 171,138 people were tested for Covid-19, with 344 testing positive.
The Balkan countries accounted for the highest number of imported cases.
The goal, the minister concluded, was for Greece to remain a safe country for both visitors and local residents.
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