NEWS

New restrictions to apply as of Thursday as Omicron takes over

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The Greek government is bringing forward a batch of new restrictions in entertainment, work and sports announced earlier this week to contain the wild spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with authorities expected to say they will take effect as of Thursday, instead of January 3.

According to sources, the decision to bring forward the restrictions came at a meeting on the pandemic chaired Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with Health Minister Thanos Plevris and Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, head of infectious diseases at the National Public Health Organization.

Entertainment and food service venues will close at midnight, have no standing customers and only allow a maximum of six per table. However, an exception will likely be made for restaurants for New Year’s Eve, which will probably be allowed to stay open until 2 in the morning.

No standing customers will be allowed and music will be banned if the measures are not respected. 

High-protection KN95 or FFP2 masks, or, alternately, a double layer of other masks will be mandatory in supermarkets and public transport, as well as by employees in the food service sector. 

In public and private sector workplaces, half of staff will have to work from home and staggered shifts will be reintroduced, with the exact percentage will be determined according to the line of work.

In sports stadiums, admissions will be limited to 10% of the venue’s capacity, with a cap of 1,000 spectators and visits to retirement homes will be limited to those who have performed a PCR text within the previous 48 hours.

The Health Ministry is also expected to issue recommendations for home gatherings on New Year’s Eve.

The country’s panel of experts on the pandemic is meeting at 1 p.m. to discuss possible changes to the measures already announced. The official announcements are expected by Plevris at 3 p.m.