Indoor leisure activities slowly open

Gov’t approach of separating vaccinated from those who aren’t is criticized as unenforceable

Indoor leisure activities slowly open

Authorities have announced the gradual resumption of mostly indoor activities, some of them open to vaccinated people only.

Development and Investment Minister Adonis Georgiadis and Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis Tuesday announced that theaters and cinemas will reopen on July 1, with attendance at a maximum 50% of capacity and mandatory mask wearing, while indoor leisure activities, including dining, will be allowed from July 15.

Also, sports venues, both indoor and outdoor, will open to the public on that date.

Leisure activity venues, a designation which includes bars, cafes and restaurants, can be divided into “exclusive,” with only those vaccinated against the coronavirus or who have recovered from the disease during the previous six months allowed in, or “mixed,” with everyone allowed in, but with the non-vaccinated made to exhibit the negative result of a recent test. Sports venues will be exclusive ones, except for minors entering with a negative self-test and with their parents assuming liability. Such venues will be allowed to be 85% full.

The two ministers explained that the government aims to encourage vaccination and to protect public health in venues with large concentrations of people. Another aim is to “gradually restore the freedom [of movement] of those citizens who have already been vaccinated and have what it takes to live their personal and social lives back to the fullest,” Gerapetritis said.

​​​​​​In bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants, it will be up to their owners to decide whether to make their spaces exclusive to the vaccinated and recovered or open to all, the two ministers said. Exclusive places will be allowed to operate at 85% capacity and masks will not be required, while mixed places will be limited to 50%.

Several proprietors expressed their skepticism about whether these new rules could be enforced.

Some restaurant proprietors say it is imperative to open up indoor seating, especially because of the summer conditions. Having to dine in searing heat could turn off people, including the important tourist clientele, they said. Restaurant owner and chef Lefteris Lazarou said that policing customers will be very difficult and added that, by law, he could not fire employees who had been furloughed for not wearing masks.


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