The new rules for the hospitality and entertainment sectors, including restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs and places of entertainment, will begin to apply throughout Greece on Friday.
Government officials warning that inspections will be frequent and strict in order to ensure compliance with the measures. The measures, which will apply from July 16 until August 31, include the following:
- Only seated customers (no dancing or standing at the bar) will be permitted in places of entertainment, either indoors or outdoors.
- Indoor spaces (restaurants, cinemas and theaters, etc.) can only operate as Covid-free venues that admit only Covid-immunized customers, either through vaccination or the presence of antibodies from previous infection, and operate at 85 percent capacity.
- Indoor places of entertainment, in particular, are permitted to operate only as Covid-free venues with the coverage of up to 85 percent of usable surface area while also observing the distancing and protection rules.
- All places of entertainment, both indoors and outdoors, must follow the minimum distancing rules that apply for the restaurant sector.
- Owners of outdoor places of entertainment can choose to operate them as Covid-free areas.
- Minors can only enter Covid-free hospitality or entertainment venues after taking a negative self-test that is attested by a parent.
Stiff fines for restaurants, bars that break rules
Violation of the above rules carries stiff fines and penalties that escalate for repeat offenders and according to the size of the venue.
The fine for a first offense ranges from 2,000 euros for premises under 200 square metres and a week-long closure of the business, or a fine of 5,000 euros and week-long closure for larger premises.
The fine rises to 10,000 euros for all establishments and a 15-day closure for a second offence.
Businesses that violate the rules a third time will have their operating license temporarily removed for a period of 60 days.
A repeat offense can be any violation of the rules listed above, not necessarily the same one, and can be imposed on the basis of any evidence showing a violation.
Employers in both the public and private sector will have the right to ask to be informed whether their employees have been vaccinated or not.
As a part of the measures against the novel coronavirus, businesses can display one or more of the following signs that have been established, indicating whether a space is either Covid-Free, Mixed (in the case of outdoor spaces) or whether the staff are all fully vaccinated.
Coronavirus spike in Greece
The new rules are coming into effect as Greece has experienced a spike in coronavirus infections in recent weeks.
Another nationwide coronavirus lockdown is not in the offing for Greece, according to Greece’s Development and Investment Minister Adonis Georgiadis, who made his remarks on Thursday.
However, localized lockdowns — only for those who remain unvaccinated — may be imposed if the epidemiological situation does not improve.
In an interview with Skai TV on Thursday, Georgiadis emphasized that those Greek citizens who have been vaccinated will not face restrictions, since they are indeed protected from the virus.