Even though the Greek prime minister had not wanted to put the nation of Greece into another lockdown, this was what he needed to do and it has gone into effect today.
Greece Enters Nationwide Lockdown – Again
Due to the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases sharply rising and, more disturbingly, the ICU beds becoming even more filled, Greece had to switch from a localized lockdown system (that saw the northern city of Thessaloniki enter lockdown earlier this week) to a nationwide lockdown that is set to last until November 30.
Yesterday, the highways and roads leading out of Athens were packed as people tried to leave the densely populated city for their family village and small town homes. Of course, with this type of movement, it is inevitable that there will be additional cases spread in places throughout the country but with people limited in their outside movement, this should be kept to a minimum.
This lockdown is very similar to the one that lasted 10 weeks earlier this year (that I was there for and wrote many things about). Different this time is that kindergarten, grade school, and special eduction schools will remain open. Also different is that there is a strict curfew in place that starts at 9PM. Finally, this time around, everyone is required to wear masks even outside.
Fine of €300 for Violators
For this lockdown, Greece is going back to the system of requiring anyone in Greece to send a text message with one of the 6 permissible reasons to be outside (which include exercise, going to the supermarket or pharmacy, medical, helping someone in need). Failure to send the text message or fill out the document prior to going out will cause the person to be issued a fine – €300 (up from €150 last time).
Police are out and being told to fine those in violation as Greece tries to ease the burden on their ICUs around the country. Without many on the streets, this will be very easy for the police to spot violators.
The airport of Thessaloniki (the second largest city in Greece) had all flights in and out canceled earlier this week (I was actually on one of the last flights out of Thessaloniki this week) and anyone that arrives in Greece now has to now a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. This is addition to filling out the PLF – passenger locator form. Also, this form is now required for anyone that is wanting to leave Greece.
With Greece entering a new nationwide lockdown, hopefully this will have the desired relief of the ICUs in the next 3 weeks. This lockdown is due to end November 30 but as we all now, these dates are hardly firm since the virus has brought so many unknowns.
I do know the prime minister and the government do not want to stress the economy more than absolutely necessary and they want to be ready for all the holiday gatherings that people will want to take part in next month. Greece already faced a lockdown during their Easter which is their biggest holiday so to have to face the same for both Christmas and New Year’s would be a huge strain for the people there.