With the government keen to avoid a full lockdown in Attica, which has seen a spike in coronavirus infections, authorities are considering a series of additional measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has made it clear that safeguarding public health is the priority. However, protecting Greece’s fragile economy is also a concern and his government is keen to avoid the fallout of a second lockdown as long as the public health sector is able to cope.
The government is reportedly considering four new restrictions if additional measures for Attica fail to curb the recent upward trend in infections. These are: the mandatory use of face masks in all public areas, both closed and open; the imposition of a public curfew after midnight (an extension of last week’s decision to close street kiosks and mini-markets at midnight); earlier closing times for restaurants and bars, which are currently obliged to stop operating at midnight; and the designation of specific hours for high-risk citizens – the sick and those aged over 65 – to visit supermarkets.
Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias is in contact with Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis about an action plan to curb the spread of the virus in the capital. Of key concern are instances of overcrowding in city squares where mostly young people gather after midnight once bars and restaurants close.
Although Mitsotakis made it clear in a televised speech to the nation last week that the aim is to avoid a lockdown in Attica, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras has indicated that the economy could withstand a second lockdown if it becomes unavoidable.
Government sources have insisted that the health service currently has enough intensive care units to deal with Covid-19 patients, with hundreds more to be made available in due course.