Starting Friday, police inspections of cars on national highway tolls will intensify to identify those who travel outside their regions in violation of pandemic restrictions.
The decision to make more inspections was taken in anticipation that a number of people will defy restrictions to spend the Easter holiday in the countryside, mostly in their ancestral villages.
The mass exodus from cities was a customary feature of previous Easters, but this year’s holiday – the Orthodox Easter falls on May 2 – will be the second in a row that this movement has been curtailed in an effort to limit the spread of the pandemic.
In addition to staffing toll checkpoints, police will use helicopters and drones in their inspections and will also check traffic on smaller roads that skirt tolls.
There are exceptions that allow domestic long-distance travel; for example, if a city dweller is also a farmer that needs to tend to the crops, or animals, or if a second home in the village needs repairs, and police are aware that people will try to abuse the exemptions. Those who will not possess the needed paperwork will be turned around, with no exception.
If, by chance, people evade inspections and make it to their destination, they will be allowed to make the return trip, because returning to one’s main residence is an exception to the restrictions
“Inspections will be strict, not only in Attica, but throughout the country,” police officials told state news agency ANA-MPA. “More than 10,000 police are involved. It shouldn’t be possible for some to present documents about farm work or medical visits so they can pass and have their whole family and baggage with them,” an officer added. “If you try to present fake documents, in addition to high fines you may face additional sanctions,” police said.