The retail sector in Greece will reopen on Monday (January 18), allowing anew the physical presence of customers in shops, but the click-away method will remain in effect in areas which are epidemiologically burdened, Development & Investment Minister Adonis Georgiadis said on Friday.
Speaking at a regular briefing on the pandemic, Georgiadis said that retailers, hairdressers and beauty salons may allow up to 4 customers per 100 square meters, and 1 customer per 25 square meters in shops larger than 100 square meters. The latter applies also to malls and discount villages. The opening schedule proposed is between 07:00 and 20:00.
Shoppers will be allowed 2 hours to complete their purchases, from the moment they receive the SMS permission message from the 13033 number.
Customers of hair salons and beauty parlors will be required to set appointments, and the owners must be prepared to show the listing of appointments to authorities if required.
Coffee shops, restaurants to remain closed
Restaurants and coffee shops are excluded from reopening, however, clarified Georgiadis, as “the pandemic currently does not allow for it, while the danger for a broad dispersal of the virus is still high.” He also stressed that the ministry will not hesitate to revoke all the lenient measures coming into effect on Monday, if new data and health experts point to this direction.
Speaking alongside Georgiadis, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias added that churches too will reopen to the public on Monday, allowing only 1 person per 25 square meters and a maximum of 50 people inside at any one time.
The reopening of shops nationwide does not cancel the current overnight curfew, he noted, which remains in effect between 21:00 and 05:00. Travelling across from one prefecture to another is also still prohibited, he added, excepting only medical emergencies.
Areas where shops will not open
Additionally, the tougher lockdown restrictions imposed in the municipality of Elefsina, in West Attica, are lifted, but the same set of measures in the neighboring municipality of Aspropyrgos will stay, as 108 active infections are registered there on Friday: therefore, the retail sector will not reopen there.
Moreover, safety restrictions in the Kozani prefecture are lifted, specifically in the Kozani and Voio municipalities, but will remain in effect in the greater Kozani municipalities of Krokos, Siatista and Eordea until Monday January 25.
The additional lockdown measures are also lifted selectively at local communities in the region of Rodopi and Florina prefectures, after nearly-zero new infections.
Other areas in Greece where stores will remain shut include: Kalimnos and Lesvos islands, the areas of the Argolid, the Sparta municipality in the Peloponnese, the Boeotia region, and the Anthili community of the Sitia-Lasithi municipality in Crete.
Second dosage inoculations ensured
There are enough Pfizer-made coronavirus vaccines in Greece to ensure everyone receives the second shot, Alternate Health Minister Vassilis Kontozamanis clarified at the briefing.
The minister also confirmed that Pfizer had informed health authorities of a temporary slow-down in vaccine deliveries until February 15, but quantities will increase after mid-February, he stressed.
The pharmaceutical giant underlined that despite this minor delay, availability and distribution “will increase significantly from the end of February and March.”