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President Sakellaropoulou’s Coffee Outing as Greece Reopens After Six Months

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President Katerina Sakellaropoulou is joined by friends for a cup of coffee in downtown Athens. Credit: Twitter/Katerina Sakellaropoulou

The President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, enjoyed her first outdoor coffee outing in six months, as restaurants, bars and cafes reopened on Monday.

Sakellaropoulou is seen in the company of Greek doctors from the Athenian hospitals of Evangelismos and Sotiria.

“First day with the restaurants opening again, albeit with restrictions. Enjoying a coffee and a friendly conversation with doctors from Evangelismos and Sotiria; we relive small joys of everyday life, which we considered self-evident until they were deprived by the pandemic,” she wrote on Twitter.

Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis warned against public complacency as Greece reopened its bars and restaurants after a six-month lockdown on Monday.

“We are reopening food businesses but the virus is still here. The risk is not over yet,” Georgiadis told state broadcaster ERT.

“We do not want to curb anyone’s freedom, but the virus (spread) needs to be kept under control,” he said.

Rules for restaurant, café reopening

Businesses are only allowed to serve customers in the open, with distanced tables and up to six patrons per table to limit the number of close contacts. Self-testing for Covid-19 is compulsory for workers — who also have to wear a mask.

Businesses are not allowed to play music — to prevent people from having to speak loudly, which increases the amount of droplets they emit — and must close by 10:45 p.m.

Whoever wishes to visit such establishments must send a text message to 13033 with code 6.

Also on Monday, the curfew hours will be shortened by one hour, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., to facilitate the reopening of dining.

Since last week, inter-municipal travel has been permitted within the country. Greeks can travel to different cities as long as they remain within their regional unit.

For example, those in Attica can travel between cities there, without leaving Attica.

Greece’s reopening of organized beaches

Greece announced on Friday that organized beaches and beach clubs throughout the country will open on May 15, with strict health measures in place.

Speaking to state broadcaster ERT, General Secretary for Commerce and Consumer Protection Panagiotis Stamboulidis assured that health safety measures like physical distancing and masks – mainly for staff – will continue to apply at beach resorts.

He added that beach bars will not be allowed to play music, a measure that will also apply to restaurants and cafes reopening on May 3, and bars as well, when they go back into business later in the month.

Explaining the ban on music, Stamboulidis said that expert reports have indicated that ambient noise can contribute to the spread of the virus by forcing patrons to raise their voices, spreading more particles into the air, and come into closer proximity with one another.

The move comes as Greece is gradually relaxing travel restrictions towards the official opening of the tourist season on May 14.

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