COVID MEASURES

Massive rise in Covid cases puts damper on New Year’s fun

massive-rise-in-covid-cases-puts-damper-on-new-years-fun

The spike in Covid-19 cases that began Tuesday brought forward, as expected, restrictions that were supposed to kick in on January 3, together with some added precautions.

Health Minister Thanos Plevris announced on Wednesday afternoon that the government has accepted the recommendations of the committee of experts advising it on the pandemic.

Thus, catering and entertainment venues will close at midnight, starting on Thursday, four days earlier than planned. There will be no standing customers and seating will be limited to six persons to a table.

Additionally, music will be banned, as a further preventive measure to avoid standing. This prohibition extends to New Year’s Eve parties, although, for that day alone, venues will close at 2 a.m.

Plevris clarified that any organized parties, at private or rented public spaces, are banned.

Also brought forward by a few days are: the obligation that catering and entertainment businesses’ staff must wear either an enhanced protection mask, of the KN95 or FFP2 type, or two regular masks; an increase in working for home in both the public and private sectors, up to 50% of personnel; and restrictions in spectator sports, with only 10% of the seats allowed to be filled, with an upper limit of 1,000 spectators, regardless of the size of the venue. 

Plevris said that the government may also consider extending the mandatory nature of vaccinations. Also, depending on the progress of this fifth wave of the pandemic, it may limit the validity of vaccination certificates to seven months for more age groups than the over-60s.

“We believe that if the measures are strictly applied up to mid-January, this will allow us to resume our normal lives,” Plevris ventured. He added that anyone who has experienced even the mildest symptoms or been in crowded spaces should behave as if they are Covid carriers and avoid taking part in family gatherings that include elderly people.