Eyeing the reopening of schools on January 11, the Greek government announced on Saturday a one-week strict lockdown, starting Sunday.
Under the renewed restrictions, all activities that had been allowed before Christmas will be suspended, meaning that bookshops, hair dressers, nail salons and stores offering pick-up services will be shut down until January 11. Churches will be closed to the public and hunting and fishing activities will be prohibited.
A nighttime curfew will also be tightened, as movement will be restricted from 9pm to 5am. People with nightshifts or with urgent medical needs will be exempted from the measures, provided they carry the prerequisite attestation that justifies their movement.
The decision is a “precautionary measure” to allow for the schools reopening and the gradual return to normalcy, government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said, stressing that the country’s national health system remains under pressure.
Earlier in the day, the country’s Development and Investments Minister, Adonis Georgiadis told SKAI channel that the retail reopening has not been ruled out yet, as it could open in “geographical zones”, where the viral load is lower.
Greece has been under a nationwide lockdown since November 5, while two of its regions, Thessaloniki and Serres had gone under a full lockdown a few days earlier, after becoming the hotspot of infections. Although Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city located in the north, was initially reporting the majority of COVID-19 cases, the region has been noting a significant curb in infections in recent weeks, with attention now shifted to the capital, Athens.