Music returns to bars and restaurants in Greece

Greek Bouzoukia

Greece will allow music in restaurants and bars again and extend their operating hours. It lifts some of the restrictions set last month now that coronavirus infections and the pressure on hospitals is easing.

Last month the government compelled bars, nightclubs and restaurants to close at midnight, with no standing customers and no music, following a considerable increase of cases over the Christmas holidays due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

“We have decided to scale back the restrictions, taking into consideration the course of the pandemic in terms of cases which have been declining in recent weeks,” Health Minister Thanos Plevris said in a televised statement.

He said that despite ongoing pressure on the health system, the rate of hospital admissions and discharges and shorter duration and less severe illness for the Omicron variant compared to Delta allowed authorities to ease the curbs.

Capacity restrictions will remain for sports events, while a double mask is mandatory in supermarkets and transport.

Greece reported 19,712 new cases on Thursday. Since a record high of around 50,000 in early January, infections have been easing.