Greece celebrates Christmas, with restrictions

Greece celebrates Christmas, with restrictions

As Greeks celebrate Christmas on Friday, authorities are warning of the dangers of ignoring coronavirus regulations during the festive season and urging the public to stay safe.

“Christmas is always something to look forward to. Even though this year’s will not be the same as others, we look forward to it with joy and love,” Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias said in a holiday message on Thursday.

“These holidays are an important crossroads between two years that will always show us the two sides of human nature: How vulnerable, fragile and unprepared we can be in the face of an unprecedented challenge, but also how strong, capable and determined we can become along the way,” he added.

Some of the main restrictions this year include the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and a limit of nine people around the holiday table.

People leaving home to attend a holiday gathering must send an SMS to the 13033 hotline with the number 6 ahead of their name and address or have a printed authorization form on their person. Police will be stopping motorists and pedestrians for inspections, according to government announcements.

Hosts holding gatherings that are in violation of restrictions face a fine of 3,000 euros and their guests of 300 euros each, while businesses operating illegally face a fine of 10,000 euros.

Churches have been allowed to open on Christmas Day, but only for a restricted congregation, while the same rules apply for the Athens Mosque, which is reopening for the day after being closed for the November lockdown just days after its inauguration.

Travelers entering Greece from any country except the United Kingdom through January 7 will have to go into quarantine for three days, while those traveling from the UK must abide by the 10-day quarantine rule.

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