Easing of restrictions on retail, schools hinges on expert proposals

Easing of restrictions on retail, schools hinges on expert proposals

Amid renewed concern over the recent spike in the pandemic, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitostakis hinted on Thursday that the government will not wait for the situation to deteriorate before reacting “dynamically,” stressing that “we open activities when the cases subside, we limit them when they surge.” 

His remarks reflect the government’s approach, especially after the experience of November and December, to respond proactively before allowing matters to derail. 

Given this approach and the latest data that show a continuous, if not a rapid, aggravation of the situation, especially in Attica, it is considered very likely that there will be “interventions,” as a government source put it in comments to Kathimerini. 

These “interventions” translate into a possible tightening of rules, which may include the return of click-and-collect in retail or even the one-week postponement of schools reopening.

Experts have deemed that kindergartens and primary schools do not burden the data epidemiologically, but the same certainty does not apply for older children, and this was the reason why not all schools were opened together. 

More than a few experts insist that the opening of high schools, scheduled for Monday, should be delayed by a week. If the viral load remains stable during this time then students should return to school next week.

In any case, the final decisions will be made on Friday after experts analyze the epidemiological data and submit their final proposals.

Government sources, however, have ruled out a delay in the opening of schools, without a parallel tightening of retail trade, as this would send the wrong message.

With regard to the vaccine supply issue in the European Union, Mitsotakis said, during his introductory statement to the cabinet yesterday, that he was “glad that the European Commission has heeded the urgings of many heads of state and government and is now negotiating harder, more decisively, more rigorously with the big vaccine companies.”

 He added that companies need to understand that, to the extent that European money has been used to research the production of these vaccines, they should honor the contracts they have signed with the European Union. Regarding vaccinations, the premier said he was satisfied with the 221,000 vaccinations that have taken place in the country and the fact that “Greece makes the most of the vaccine doses it receives, without waste.” 

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