“The heroes are each and every one of you. Thank you for setting an example for our country around the world.”
Greece is preparing for a cautious and gradual reopening after the country's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the coronavirus lockdown will start being lifted on May 4.
In the televised address to the nation, Mitsotakis went to great pains to stress the importance of keeping sanitary rules and social distancing, and presented the government's new motto, "We Stay Safe", in the second stage of the coronavirus emergency in Greece that opened with "We Stay Home."
The Greek PM noted that the government every 24 hours will be reviewing the rolled-back measures for possible outbreaks of the virus.
As of May 4:
- There will be no need to send a text message to 13033 in order to request permission to leave the house
- People may move freely, as long as this is within their own prefecture.
- Personal exercise will be allowed at open areas and beaches, except for organised beaches, which will remain shut.
- A driver will be allowed two passengers per car, instead of the current two that include the driver. Taxis will continue to carry a maximum one passenger, excepting a parent with underaged children or someone accompanying a person for medical reasons.
- Some of the stores that will reopen on May 4 include bookstores, electrical appliance stores, garages issuing annual car reviews (KTEO), and sports goods stores will open; hairdressers will be open by appointment only. The rest of stores will reopen on May 11, and malls will reopen on June 1.
- Churches will open for private worship; as of May 17, the public will be able to attend services under social distancing conditions.
The public sector, including hospitals, will also return to more familiar operations, while some services should consider rotations of staff to avoid crowding.
Mass transport will increase schedules to accomodate passengers without crowding.
Schools will open only for last-year students on May 11, and a week later all students from 7th to 11th grades will also return to school. Primary schools and kindergartens will remain shut, with an option of opening on June 1, if conditions allow this. In all cases, the PM said, students with special health issues may continue e-classes at home.
As of June 1, restaurants and year-round hotels will open again, observing required public health measures.
A fine of 150 euros will be imposed on those who do not wear a mask, where required.
The rest of the economy will return to normality within June, Mitsotakis said, while all summer festivals, sports events and concerts are likely to be cancelled.
"Returning to work may prove to be more difficult than staying at home," Mitsotakis warned, adding that "the virus will live among us" and called for continued vigilance.
The PM stressed the personal responsibility shown by the Greek public and "the new quality in the relationship with the state", which he said should continue with mutual trust.