As pressure mounts over the next step forward, government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said on Monday that the final decisions regarding the pandemic restrictions and whether they will be eased for Easter will be made at the end of the week, when the latest pandemic data is evaluated.
“We are at a critical crossroads in view of Easter and much more in view of summer,” she said, reflecting the dilemmas the government faces.
Kathimerini understands that the government is looking at May 8, which is the first Saturday immediately after Easter, as a likely date for the opening of restaurants and allowing movement between regions, since the risks pertaining to the mass exodus of over 2 million citizens by Easter will have passed.
Taking the risk of easing restrictions during the four-day Easter break with the use of self-testing may essentially lead to another spike and compromise the overarching plan to open up for the summer tourist season after Easter.
The case for keeping restrictions in place for Easter is also backed by the fact that the pandemic is receding but at a slower pace than expected, and on Monday there were more than 800 intubated patients.
Moreover, even though the fact that the vaccination program is moving ahead so far successfully is a cause for optimism that Greece is nearing the end of the tunnel, this final stretch is littered with obstacles, not least the public’s fatigue, especially among young people – something reflected by the increasing number of outdoor parties in overcrowded city squares.
This fatigue is further exacerbated by the fact that people are coming round to the idea that they will most likely not be allowed to leave urban centers for the Easter holidays for a second year running.
Meanwhile with the situation in squares in recent days a cause of increasing concern, rumors also proliferated in tandem that restaurants could be opened earlier for reasons of “decompression.”
But the rumor was dismissed as it would imply that the government is allowing itself to be influenced by the anti-social behavior of some young people and making decisions under “pressure.”
“Violation of the measures by some groups cannot be tackled with a total change of attitude across the country,” a government official told Kathimerini.