With Greece’s vaccination program moving forward, albeit with slightly lower-than-expected participation among certain age groups and areas of the country, the government is bracing for the next step, regarding the scope of mandatory inoculations and benefits-privileges for those who get their jabs.
The suggestion of the National Bioethics Committee expected this week and before the end of the month at the latest will be key to the government’s decision.
A public debate will ensue over the summer and the final decisions will eventually be implemented in the fall. Close associates of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis acknowledge that the reasons that actions will be deferred until after the summer is because measures to provide privileges to those who are fully vaccinated cannot be implemented until enough vaccines have been made available for the entire population.
What’s more, these measures would concern indoor areas so it would be pointless to implement them now as most activities take place outdoors in the summer anyway.
Nonetheless, as the government awaits the recommendation of the Bioethics Committee, some initial discussions have already taken place.
At the core of these discussions is the approach that any privileges-benefits afforded to vaccinated members of the public should not relate to basic functions of social life, but mainly to the sphere of entertainment. More specifically, the measures will facilitate indoor access to vaccinated people to restaurants, bars, entertainment venues (theaters, cinemas, concerts), and possibly indoor sports events (basketball, volleyball etc) as well.
The government is reportedly mulling legislation that will give legal coverage to owners of such establishments to restrict entry to their premises only for those who have a vaccination certificate. A possible set of incentives for these businesses is also under consideration.
With regard to mandatory shots, this will certainly be the case, as announced by Mitsotakis, for health workers and nursing home employees.
As for the penalties for workers who refuse to get vaccinated, the government is considering such measures as transfer to other services and negative effects on issues such as professional development, and even salaries.