Police are stepping up inspections for health safety violations following scenes of overcrowding last weekend and dozens of incidents of mask flouting at cafes and bars across the country.
The inspections will focus on popular nightlife and other leisure spots in big cities and the islands in a bid to drill home the message that even though coronavirus cases may be easing and the Covid vaccination drive accelerating, there is no room for complacency.
According to a report published on Monday by the Hellenic Police (ELAS), more than 780 violations and 19 arrests were recorded between Friday and Sunday, the first weekend after the nighttime curfew was shifted from 11 p.m. to half-past midnight and the second since restaurants, cafes and bars were allowed to reopen.
The effect of the shorter curfew appears to have been instant, as crowds of unmasked men and women were reported in Plaka, Psyrri, Pangrati, Halandri, Kolonaki and other parts of the city with an intense nightlife, but also in Thessaloniki in the north, in Patra in the west and on several islands – which started welcoming tourists on Friday.
The majority of violations, said ELAS, concerned failure to wear a mask in public and/or exercise physical distancing.
More than 100 businesses were also slapped with hefty fines or shut down for violating regulations, which stipulate that they can only serve seated customers outdoors and must maintain a safe distance between tables and chairs.