The retail sector is set to reopen in Greece as the country has successfully battled its second wave of Covid-19 during its two-month lockdown.
Starting Monday, January 18, Greece’s retail sector, along with hair and nail salons, will be open for business once again, albeit under strict safety measures.
The move comes after Greek epidemiologists assessed the country’s current situation in terms of coronavirus infection rates, and deemed it stable enough to open stores across the country.
New retail measures
Stores will be permitted to operate from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM starting on Monday, January 18. In areas of increased transmission risk, however, stores will operate on a curbside, pick up basis only.
In order to make their purchases, customers must send an SMS to the country’s toll-free number with the number 2, which was the code for making essential purchases.
Under the new measures, customers will have a total of two hours per day to shop.
Additionally, there will be a limit to the amount of customers permitted inside of a store, depending on its dimensions, so that safe social distancing can be maintained.
Notably, the country’s curfew from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM will remain in effect. The use of masks in all indoor and outdoor settings, apart from the home, is still mandatory.
No jump in cases two weeks after New Year’s Day
A total of 610 Covid-19 cases were diagnosed in Greece on Friday, which is 11 more than the 599 cases that were recorded in the country one day earlier, on Thursday.
In a press conference on Friday, Vana Papaevangelou, an epidemiologist and member of the special coronavirus committee, expressed optimism at the country’s transmission rate:
“We can all smile under our masks — two weeks after New Year’s Day and we do not have an exponential growth in cases,” Papaevangelou stated Friday.
Tragically, 34 people with the virus passed away in the country over the past 24 hour period, which is just one more than those recorded yesterday.
Currently, 319 patients with Covid-19 are now intubated in Greece, nine fewer than those who were intubated in the country on Thursday.
A large portion of Friday’s cases were diagnosed in the areas surrounding Greece’s two largest urban centers — Athens and Thessaloniki.
In Attica, home to the capital city of Athens, there were 187 cases, 43 of which were diagnosed in the center of Athens. A total of 77 new cases were recorded in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.
Total 147,860 cases recorded since Covid-19 pandemic started
In total, 147,860 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, including all those who have recovered from the virus.
Of this total, 5,709 are associated with foreign travel, and 45,140 are associated with contact with a known case.
Of the 319 patients intubated currently, 87.8% are over the age of 70 or suffer from preexisting conditions. Their median age is 69, and 223 of the patients are male.
A total of 1,019 patients have been discharged from ICUs around the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
The 34 new deaths recorded on Friday bring the total number of fatalities in the country to 5,421. Of all those who lost their lives after suffering from the virus, a total of 3,203 have been male.
The median age of those who passed away with Covid-19 is 79, and 95.4% of them were over the age of 70 or suffered from underlying health issues.