CORONAVIRUS

Rules tighten amid Covid squeeze

Care workers must get first shot by Aug 16; restaurant, cafe clients require documents to sit inside

rules-tighten-amid-covid-squeeze

Following up on Monday’s announcement by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias reiterated Tuesday that the vaccination of all staff at private and public nursing homes and units for the disabled is mandatory and that all must get at least the first dose of the vaccine by August 16.

At the same time, the government announced that customers at indoor restaurants, bars and cafes will be required to prove they have been vaccinated or have tested negative within the last three days. 

Referring to staff at private and public nursing homes, Kikilias warned that “anyone who refuses to be vaccinated or does not complete the vaccination will be forced to take unpaid leave.” He added that facilities which violate the relevant rules will be fined 50,000 euros, while the fine is set at €200,000 in cases of repeat offenses.

Respectively, employees at hospitals, health centers and diagnostic centers must be vaccinated by September 1.

Nursing homes and healthcare units will be able to hire fixed-term staff to replace those who are not vaccinated.

In addition, special committees will be set up to evaluate vaccination exemption requests based on the assessment of health reasons, which will be determined by the National Vaccination Committee. 

To date, about 80% of staff at hospitals and health centers have been vaccinated against Covid-19, with the highest percentage recorded among medical staff (approximately 93%).

By contrast, rates are lower for staff at nursing homes and units for the disabled. According to Deputy Labor Minister Domna Michailidou in comments to Skai TV, roughly 65% of employees at private units are vaccinated while the figure stands at 43% for public units.

The regulations for customers entering indoor restaurants, bars and cafes, who need proof of vaccination or having tested negative, will remain in force until August. They also dictate that all customers at indoor bars and restaurants will have to be seated. Those dining outdoors will not require proof of vaccination or a test.

“It is crucial not to give the impression that we are losing control of the pandemic so that our tourism industry can go on and operate normally,” Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis told a news conference.

“The course of Greece’s economy will hinge on how well we comply with the measures and control the pandemic,” he said.