Update – 13/05/2020
May 13, 2020
As of the latest update by the Greek authorities yesterday evening, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 diagnosed cases in Greece is 2,744. The total number of Covid-19 deaths is 152. There are currently 32 patients intubated in intensive care units, while 88 patients have left the intensive care unit.
Bars and restaurants will have more outdoor space on sidewalks according to a bill that will be submitted to Parliament on Monday. Interior Minister said that among the changes will be allowing businesses that have a license to use public areas, in collaboration with the respective municipality, to double the space for tables and chairs. However, there must be a corridor of at least 1.8 meters wide on the sidewalk that will allow the passage of pedestrians and access for the disabled. In case of violations, businesses will incur steep fines and the removal of their license.
Anticipation is running high in Greece as the European Commission is poised on Wednesday to propose a process in phases for the restoration of free movement in the European Union. For its part Athens has sent a non-paper to the EC, calling for the lifting of restrictions on travel between EU member-states until June 15 “where possible.”
It said travelers should be tested for the coronavirus or antibodies in the country of origin at a maximum of 72 hours before setting off on holiday. At the same time, it said the obligation for a test could be lifted for travelers from member-states which have “demonstrated clear and persistent evidence” that the pandemic is under control. It adds that tourism flows need to restart in a manner that “ensures fair treatment” of all member-states to avoid any “nationality bias” in travel protocols. Moreover, it added that all means of transport by road, air, train or sea must restart at the same time and with proportionate protocols. It also called for mandatory masks by passengers and flight crews in airplanes.
A joint decision by the ministries of Health and Religion paves the way for churches in Greece to reopen their doors to their congregations on May 17. According to the report, the decision applies to regular services but also to ceremonies like baptisms and weddings, and will be effective until June 5, when it will be reviewed by the authorities.
Churches will not operate without strict health guidelines, however. The government has set limits, saying that only one person will be allowed inside churches per 10 square meter of their surface area and a distance of 1.5 meters at least must be maintained at all times between clerics and members of the congregation. A maximum of 50 people will be allowed in places of worship that have an area of more than 500 square meters.
The decision also advises the use of masks but makes the use of antiseptic hand gels or wipes mandatory for everyone entering a church or other religious venue.