The government’s plan for a return to normality starting on May 10 will be implemented gradually and in phases on the condition that the coronavirus curve continues to flatten. The lifting of the measures could even be completed by as early as July if things go as planned and there is no resurgence of the virus.
An indication of the path that lies ahead was given by the government’s adviser on the pandemic, infectious diseases expert SotirisTsiodras, who last week likened the lifting of the measures to a road filled with turns where on some parts the driver needs to put their foot on the gas and on others to step on the brakes.
Indeed, the model developed by Maximos Mansion in collaboration with experts not only provides that existing restrictions will not be terminated at the same time, but also that their removal will not be “horizontal.” Rather, the return to normalcy will be gradual, based on criteria such as age or activity.
In particular, the abolition of restrictions of movement, which is expected to be the starting point, will not affect everyone in the initial phase. For instance, there are thoughts of excluding members of vulnerable groups including the elderly from this initial phase and limiting their contact with members of the active population like their children and grandchildren.
Moreover, the bans on large social gatherings, including the operation of businesses such as bars and cafes, will remain in place during the early phase. Also, the lifting of movement restrictions will initially concern urban centers.
The travel restrictions will be lifted after mid-June or early July, so that there will be a gradual return to normal on the tourism front as well.
The same philosophy will govern the reopening of commercial stores, restaurants, bars and other businesses as there will be a time frame for the lifting of restrictions. The opening of malls, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs, for example, will not happen in the initial phase.
In the case of commercial stores, depending on the congestion that is expected or observed, restrictions will be imposed as is the case now with supermarkets, which provide for no more than a certain number of people to be in the store at any given time based on its size.