NEWS

Road back to normalcy paved with thorns

STAVROS PAPANTONIOU

A resident enjoys a run along Thessaloniki's coastal promenade on Tuesday, as authorities in the northern port city lifted restrictions on the waterfront.

TAGS: Coronavirus, Politics

The plan to lift the measures introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19, which is scheduled to be announced on Tuesday evening by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is expected to be implemented cautiously and in phases as authorities insist that the thorns on the road back to normalcy are many and any failure will result in significant setbacks. 

The plan will unfold in three phases – from May 4 to mid-June – and, depending on the data, it will change accordingly.

The plan at the moment foresees that, from May 4, small retail stores and hairdressers will gradually begin to open.

Also the SMS system for traveling outside the home will also be scrapped on this date.

This initial phase will be completed with the opening of churches for individuals to pray alone, and with strict rules for the maximum number of worshippers allowed inside the church at ant one time. 

On May 11, senior high schools will open, while it is not yet clear if the lower grades of high school will also open on the same date. Another option being floated is for the latter to open on May 18, with primary schools kicking off a week later, on May 25. 

The ban on movement from prefecture to prefecture should not be expected immediately and the most likely dates under consideration are May 25 and June 1. 

The lifting of travel restrictions from prefecture to prefecture will initially only apply to mainland Greece and not the islands, access to which will be allowed later, either on June 1 or 8. Cafes and restaurants are also expected to open at the beginning of June, with strict rules of operation.

At the same time, the opening of year-round hotels, outdoor sports facilities and museums and archaeological sites is also planned for early June. Department stores are likely to open in mid-June, along with public services that cannot operate remotely, playgrounds and parks.

Indoor sports facilities are on course to open either on June 15 or 22, together with event venues. The opening of seasonal hotels is scheduled for the end of June.

In any case, the above is not set in stone and the decisions will be made step by step and based on the advice of epidemiologists and experts who will draw their recommendations from the study of mathematical models.

The government will impose fines per category and occasion in order to ensure the public complies with the rules.

Online