NEWS

Weekend seen as ‘crash test’ for new measures

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Greek authorities and health experts are looking at the upcoming weekend as an important test of public compliance with stricter coronavirus containment measures.

In the Greek capital especially, what they are hoping to see is much less traffic on the city’s streets and smaller crowds in popular public areas like parks and the southern waterfront, amid concerns that the spring-like weather may encourage abuses of the system.

Starting this weekend, residents of Athens and the northern port city of Thessaloniki will have an additional hour to go to the supermarket or for a walk, after the government’s decision to reduce the curfew by on Saturday and Sundays from 7 p.m. instead of 6 p.m., until 5 a.m.

The SMS system for getting permission to leave home will also be tested over the weekend following stricter terms introduced this week, such as a 2-kilometer limit on outings for food shopping (unless there is no supermarket within that radius). People leaving home for exercise and pet walking, meanwhile, will have to be either on foot or bicycle.

The codes corresponding to these two categories, 2 and 6, were subject to the greatest abuse, according to authorities, which is what prompted the decision to make the system stricter.

Checks will also be intensified on people using the code number 4 to leave their home, which is intended for individuals providing assistance to someone in need like an elderly relative.