Large-scale police presence planned to ensure compliance with health rules

Large-scale police presence planned to ensure compliance with health rules

More than 10,000 police officers will be deployed throughout the country for New Year's Eve in order to ensure compliance with the measures for preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The restrictions will be similar to those imposed for the Christmas holiday but police checks will be more intensive.

"Of primary importance is to not lose at New Year all that we managed to gain at Christmas," Hellenic Police spokesperson Theodoros Chronopoulos said in statements to the state run ANA-MPA news agency on Wednesday.

"We must celebrate responsibly and with moderation, taking care and staying healthy," he added.

The restrictions will begin at 10 p.m. on New Year's Eve, with a curfew lasting until 5 a.m. in the morning except for reasons of health, work and to walk household pets, the police said.

During this time, traffic may be interrupted on major roadways, both in Athens and in other big cities, in order to check all vehicles on the road without exception.

To attend New Year parties, citizens must send a code 6 SMS to the 13033 number (or carry document equivalents) in order to leave their homes and a second to return.

Gatherings in private homes are restricted to nine people, with police empowered to enter homes in the presence of a public prosecutor if there is a complaint. Violations carry a 3,000-euro fine for the host and a 300-euro fine for each person present.

The police will also strongly police public spaces, such as squares, public transport and central roads.

Restrictions will also apply to church attendance, with one person permitted per 15 square metres up to a maximum of 25 in ordinary churches and up to 50 in cathedrals, while masks will be mandatory at all times.

Church-goers must also send a code 6 SMS or carry document equivalent in order to visit church.

Police said that a total of 140,000 inspections were carried out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with citations for 3,300 violations and 10 people arrested.


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