Tighter measures return to red areas

Tighter measures return to red areas

In response to health experts’ recommendations, the government announced a tightening of measures Friday in the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus, which entails restrictions on retail trade and movement in so-called red areas with a high viral load, which include Attica (excluding regional island units). High school openings scheduled for Monday will also be disrupted in red areas.

Apart from Attica, red areas include the islands of Lesvos, Mykonos, the municipalities of Thera, Patra, Eordaia in Kozani, Thiva and Tanagra in Viotia, Sparta, Nea Propontida in Halkidiki, Halkideon and the Roma community west of the municipality of Kymi-Aliveri in Evia.

A traffic ban will come into force beginning Saturday from 6 p.m. until 5 a.m. in all these areas except Attica, where, due to the density of the population and in order to avoid overcrowding during the hours when traffic will be allowed, the ban will be from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m.

Under these rules, retail companies in red areas will operate only via appointment for out out-of-store collection (known as “click-away” or “click-and-collect”), except for stores selling shoes, clothes and books, which will utilize the “click-inside” method, whereby customers book an appointment to enter and shop at a store.

Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis clarified that consumers making appointments at stores must also send an SMS message to 13033 (code 2). They will have a time limit of two hours.

Junior and senior high schools will reopen as scheduled on Monday in non-red areas.

Only junior high schools will reopen in red areas, while seniors will continue with remote lessons.

Hairdressers, barbers and other beauty services, as well as roadworthiness testing centers (KTEO), will continue operating by appointment.

Georgiadis appealed for cooperation, noting that “the only way for the market to function is with health insurance.”

The decisions for tougher measures in Attica were taken based on an increase noted by experts of 40%-50% in the viral load in the last week.

Although this spike is considered relatively mild, experts say it must be closely monitored.

“The big urban centers are like a big ship that is difficult to stop once it has started,” said assistant professor of epidemiology at Athens University Gikas Magiorkinis.

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