Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Greece’s 515 organized beaches opened on Saturday, following meteorological and Covid-19 pandemic data, including the recommendation of the Infectious Diseases Committee at the Health Ministry. Businesses running beaches, renting out sun umbrellas and sunbeds opened as of 08:00 on Saturday, under restrictions. These include recording the number of bathers present (max. 40 people per 1,000 sqm), distances between umbrellas (min. 4 meters), and restrictions on the number of sunbeds per umbrella (two, except for families with minors). Bathers are also obliged to lie on their beach towels rather than the bed itself.
Facilities only sell pre-packaged goods, while refreshment stands, coffee shops and the like operate as take-away, not allowing seating. The sale of alcoholic beverages is banned, and delivery is not allowed in the area. Customers must keep a distance of 1.5 meters from one another while ordering. All group contact sports at beaches are also banned.
Minister of Development Adnis Georgiades, who inspected the popular beach at Alimos, expressed satisfaction for the compliance of the businesses and the public.
“Everything works like a clock. I want to thank the public for the discipline showed to the measures”, Georgiades said.
Greece is starting on Monday the third face of the easing of the restrictions, that succeeded to control the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Only 9 new coronavirus cases were officially recorded in Greece in the last 24 hours, and 2 people died, the Health Ministry reported on Saturday evening, bringing the total of infections since the start of the outbreak in the country to 2,819.
So far, of the total infections, 613 are traced to travel abroad and 1,455 to known cases in Greece.
Twenty-three hospitalized Greeks are intubated. Their average age is 72 years old and 10 of them are women. Nearly all (95.7 pct) have an underlying illness or are over 70 years of age. Another 90 have been discharged from ICUs since the start of the outbreak.
Fatalities since the beginning of the outbreak total 162, with 45 of them being women. The average age of the deceased was 76 years and 93.8 pct had some underlying illness and/or were 70 years of age or more.
A total of 126,283 diagnostic tests for Covid-19 have so far been carried out in Greece.
Shopping malls, discount and outlet villages will open for business on Monday, the Development & Investments Ministry announced on Saturday, and so will zoos and botanical gardens.
Additionally, establishments related to pet training and hunting supplies will also open on Monday and so will beauty salons and diet centers, and the outlets of companies specializing in wedding, baptism and funeral decorations.
The ministry clarified that the use of escalators in shopping malls is only allowed to the disabled and the elderly, and only at 40 pct capacity in all other cases.
Face masks should be worn by all employees and customers alike, while a 1.5 meters distance should be observed among all peopel, everywhere and at any time.
The government on Saturday decided to have restaurants and cafes open for business on May 25, following the positive recommendation of the Infectious Diseases Committee at the Health Ministry.
The opening of these businesses comes one week earlier than the scheduled June 1.
Details will be presented by Deputy Minister of Development & Investments Nikos Papathanassis on Sunday at 18:00 on public broadcaster ERT1.
Governmental announcements concerning the country’s tourism industry are to be expected mid-next week, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Saturday on SKAI TV.
These will focus on three areas: employment, taxation and liquidity, and will concern both domestic and foreign tourism, he elaborated.
He pointed out that by mid-June it will be much clearer what will happen with tourism in Greece and other EU countries, and more so from July 1 onwards.
“We are working to ensure that health and travel protocols convince all travelers that their movement will be safe, so that they do not hesitate to travel, while tourism professionals will also know that it is in their best interests to open their businesses,” he added.
He also said that about 10 of 30 million visitors come to Greece by road. “Therefore, road transport is very important, besides air transport. We are in talks with several countries, apart from EU neighbors, on the possibility of bilateral agreements.”
Petsas pointed out that Greece is a country with a very low epidemiological burden compared to other European states. Regarding non-EU countries he said “we are considering agreements that will be safe for all those travelers and for our country.”
Minister of State George Gerapetritis stressed that the government will de facto strengthen the tourism industry and relevant sectors like food services and restaurants, in an interview with Mega TV on Saturday.
The minister noted that to this effect, the government will make use of innovative tools related to both the labor force and the cash liquidity that businesses should have.
“The biggest issue,” he said, “is that we have to manage the aftermath of the coronavirus health crisis, and that’s why we’ve made a big decision (…) to move on from the emergency modus operandi of subsidizing unemployment to the boosting of motivational criteria for both the employee and the employer.”
Asked whether the European Commission’s decisions on tourism were sufficient, he said that despite the existence of conflicting interests among EU member states, Greece managed to come across as it meant to – regarding its basic positions in the matter: that tourism will open in the summer under strict conditions of public health safety, that land, sea and air tourism will all be subject to the same restrictions without discrimination, and that all sectors of the tourism industry will operate without any obstacles to tourists.
Grecotel will gradually open its hotels and resorts as of July 1, the company announced on Saturday.
The first to open is the Grecotel Cape Sounio on July 1. Next to open is the Grecotel Riviera Olympia & Aquapark at Kyllini on July 3, including the following hotels in the broader area there: Grecotel Μandola Rosa, Grecotel Olympia Riviera and Grecotel Oasis.
Next are the Grecotel Casa Marron in Achaia, the Grecotel Filoxenia in Kalamata and the Grecotel Mykonos Blu, all to open on July 3.
The opening of Grecotel hotels at the island of Crete, at Corfu island and at Chalkidiki, among other places, will be announced in coming weeks, the company added.