Police were on the streets of Thessaloniki from early Monday morning, checking whether citizens were complying with the rules of a lockdown announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Sunday night.
The inspections were particularly focused around the northern port's popular waterfront which, until recently, had been crowded with people defying appeals by authorities to self-isolate.
Of the people stopped for chcks, most had a copy of the required government form or a hand-written declaration, explaining their reason for being out. Many others, including younger people, chose to send the reason for their exodus to the government number 13033, which is free of charge, selecting an option from 1 to 6, depending on their chosen activity.
Speaking to the Athens-Macedonia news agency, Thessalonian Vassilis Giannelis, who chose the SMS option to take a jog by the waterfront, said the process was straight-forward. "It was very simple. I sent the message with option 6 and I immediately received a reply saying that my movement had been approved. I showed the message to the police officers and everything was fine," he said
Certain people, who did not have a document with them and had not sent an SMS, were given a warning by police as the aim is to curb movement before the imposition of fines on those who insist on ignoring the lockdown rules.
The foreseen penalty is 150 euros per violation.
Police officers will continue to carry out inspections day and night in Thessaloniki and other cities.