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Greece Reopens Organized Beaches; Museums, Theatres to Follow

Greece reopens
Greece reopens organized beaches on Saturday. Aerial view of Nikolaos Beach Hydra. Credit: dronepicr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Greece reopens organized beaches on Saturday and museums next week, health officials said Friday, as the tourism-dependent country gears up for a May 15 travel restart.

Health safety measures like physical distancing and masks – mainly for staff – will continue to apply at beach resorts.

Beach bars will not be allowed to play music, a measure that was also applied to restaurants and cafes which reopened on May 3 and bars when they go back into business later in the month.

Explaining the ban on music, Greek health officials say 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.

Greece also announced the reopening museums, open-air cinemas and theaters later this month.

Greece reopens museums on May 14

Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said on Friday museums will be the first to open their doors on May 14 — along with the official opening to tourism — followed by conservatories on May 17, open-air cinemas on May 21, and live events on May 28.

People will have to wear masks and keep distances, while closed venues will allow a reduced number of visitors.

Hardalias also reiterated previously announced reopenings, such as kindergartens, primary schools, high school grades 7-9, and frontistiria on languages and college examinations (the latter two for 12th graders only), all of which restart on Monday.

Nursery schools and music schools will reopen on May 17.

Administrative courts will resume their duties on May 10, along with some departments of civil and criminal courts.

Hand-on workshops and lab classes at private colleges will restart on May 17, together with adult education schools.

Greece relaxes restrictions

Greece began in early April to reopen relaxing lockdown restrictions originally imposed in November by reopening most retail shops except malls.

This was followed by high schools reopening a week later, and by outdoor restaurants and cafes on May 3.

The restrictions state the each table can seat a maximum of six people, and customers must sit, not stand.

While waiting to be seated, customers must wear masks. They are also strongly recommended to wear their masks while not eating or drinking, but this is not mandatory.

Additionally, all staff will have to undergo self testing for the coronavirus twice a week and they must wear masks while working.

On May 15, free domestic travel between regions will be allowed once again, coinciding with the launch of the tourist season.

Last month quarantine restrictions were lifted for vaccinated or tested travelers from the EU and a small number of other countries including Britain and the United States.

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