With schools reopening on January 11, the Greek government announced on Saturday a one-week strict lockdown from Sunday.
Under the renewed restrictions, all activities that were allowed before Christmas will be suspended, which means bookstores, hairdressers, nail salons and stores that offer pick-up services will be closed until January 11th. Churches are closed to the public and hunting, and fishing is prohibited.
A night curfew will also be tightened as movement is restricted from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. People working night shifts or with urgent medical needs are exempt from the measures provided they have the necessary certification justifying their movement.
The decision is a “precautionary measure” to allow schools to reopen and a gradual return to normal. Government spokesman Stelios Petsas stressed that the country’s national health system was still under pressure.
The country’s development and investment minister, Adonis Georgiadis, told SKAI broadcaster earlier that the reopening of retail stores is not yet ruled out as it could open in “geographical zones” where the viral load is lower.
Greece has been on nationwide lockdown since November 5, while two of its regions, Thessaloniki and Serres, were completely locked a few days earlier after becoming an infection hotspot. Although Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city in the north, originally reported the majority of COVID-19 cases, the region has seen a significant drop in infections in recent weeks, with attention now shifting to the capital, Athens.