With the country’s epidemiological condition greatly improving, Greek health authorities announced that they will end the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors and lift remaining restrictions that were imposed to curb COVID-19 infections.
Wearing face masks will remain mandatory in indoor spaces but not outdoors, effective today, except in crowded places.
“The country’s improved epidemiological picture is clear and pleasant,” said Vana Papaevangelou, a member of the committee of infectious disease experts advising the government. “The outlook is favorable.”
Although no official word has come from authorities about regional festivals, or traditional “panegyria,” Alpha TV is reporting that the festivals— a staple in the Greek countryside and islands in the summer months, will be permitted to operate in regions where vaccinations have reached 50% or more.
On Wednesday, health authorities reported 520 new coronavirus cases and 14 deaths, bringing total infections to 419,455 since the first case was detected in February last year. The total death toll is now 12,595.
Greece weathered the first wave of the pandemic fairly well compared to other countries its population but was forced to impose a second lockdown in November to fight a resurgence in cases which overwhelmed its public health system.
Tourism and health authorities have also imposed strict entry requirements for incoming travelers, allowing access to vaccinated travelers from a list of approved nations, as well as those with negative tests.
“As long as the virus circulates among us there should not be any complacency. The longer it circulates, the higher the chances of new mutations,” Papaevangelou said.
According to official statistics from health authorities, fewer than 10 cases of the more infectious Delta variant of the virus had been detected in the country so far.
Effective on June 28, authorities will also lift remaining late night curfews and required self-testing for workers who have already been vaccinated.
The number of people allowed to sit at the same table will be increased to 10 at restaurants from the previous limit of six and the maximum limit on social gatherings such as weddings and other celebrations will rise to 300.
At organized beaches, a limit of 120 people per 1,000 square meters will be allowed as part of the relaxation of restrictions.
On Tuesday the government said 30.24% of Greeks had been fully vaccinated so far while 43.1% had received at least one dose.
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