More than 10,000 police are on call to prevent motorists to leave cities for their ancestral villages or other holiday destinations outside their region ahead of Easter.
Most inspections are done at tolls, especially those leading out of Athens, to the north and west. But police are also monitoring side roads bypassing the tolls, because many motorists use them. They are also using helicopters and drones to monitor traffic.
In the 24-hour period until 6 a.m. Saturday, 178 motorists leaving Athens were turned back.
Despite the strict measures, many still attempt to convince police they have a legitimate reason for leaving the city: going to tend to a relative with health or mobility issues, or fix leaking pipes in their holiday home or going to a medical appointment they couldn’t fix in their city. In one such case, a motorist, leaving with his family and the family dog, and the car filled to the brim with luggage, told police he had an emergency appointment to take the dog to a vet living in the countryside.
Police report that highway traffic has not significantly increased from the previous weekend.
Because of the pandemic, this is the second Easter holiday Greeks will not be allowed to spend outside their cities.