NEWS

Gov't mulls tax form plan to curb Easter exodus

STAVROS PAPANTONIOU

TAGS: Coronavirus, Politics, Society

The government sees Easter as its toughest opponent in the effort to implement restrictive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, as this particular holiday season is traditionally accompanied by the largest mass exodus of the year of Greeks from cities to the countryside.

Bearing this in mind, the government is examining ways to persuade people that this Easter season, as its spokesman Stelios Petsas said, will not be “ordinary” as they will have to stay at home. 

To this end, the authorities are looking at ways to further tighten the already stringent measures limiting the movement of people from urban centers to the provinces to a bare minimum.

One of the scenarios that the Maximos Mansion is examining is to allow the movement through highway toll stations only of people carrying a copy of their income tax declaration which certifies their permanent residence in a bid discourage people from visiting summer homes or friends in the provinces.

In addition, policing will be boosted so that checks are intensified.

Moreover, it is reportedly only a matter of time before limits are imposed on the amount of time people are allowed to be away from their home. Limits are also expected on the number of times people can leave their home during the day. This was hinted at on Wednesday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said that if the government deems that it must intervene to impose yet greater limits on movements, “we will do so.”

Another proposal that had been floated in the media, namely the closure of toll stations, has been ruled out as impractical to enforce, with Mitsotakis saying that persuasion is the only way forward.

“We are a democracy of persuasion and we have succeeded in this and have society with us,” he said, before adding that the notion of individual responsibility has been the government’s guiding principle. Mitsotakis’ remarks were seen as an indication that while the government is not averse to enforcing strict restrictions, it wants to do so with the full cooperation of citizens. 

Meanwhile, the prime minister will address Parliament Thursday to appraise the measures taken so far to deal with Covid-19, and to thank the public for its cooperation. 

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