LOCKDOWN

Slight relaxing of restrictions seen next week

slight-relaxing-of-restrictions-seen-next-week

The government is on Thursday expected to announce measures that will bring about a slight relaxation of the lockdown.

Except that government officials are absolutely against the use of the word “relaxation,” fearing it will send the wrong message at a time when new coronavirus cases and people in intensive care are hitting record levels.

“In any case, we take seriously into account the fatigue experienced by society and we are looking for decompression valves that can be activated short-term, of course always under rules and heightened vigilance,” government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni told reporters in Thursday’s daily briefing.

The phrase “decompression valve” is in wide use in the Prime Minister’s Offices as the government struggles to come up with decisions that can both satisfy public demand for a relaxation with the needed message that whatever measures exist will be strictly enforced until the country gets out of the third wave of the pandemic.

In practice, this will mean fewer curfew hours and the gradual opening of some businesses and activities.

Thus, the 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew currently in place on weekends will be shortened by two hours to the same as weekdays (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.). 

Second, the restriction of allowing shopping only within a 2-kilometer radius when people have to cross over to a different municipality will be lifted. There were difficulties in enforcing this rule, in any case. 

Third, hairdressers and beauty salons will open from Monday and officials are still considering opening up archaeological sites.