2nd Nationwide Lockdown

A second nationwide lockdown will start from Saturday 7th November, until 30th November 2020.  The nationwide lockdown was announced on Thursday to initially last for three weeks to help contain a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, its second this year, after a sharp increase in infections this week. “I’ve chosen to take drastic measures sooner rather than later,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.  Although having previously said a nationwide lockdown was a last option, Mitsotakis said he was forced to act after a spike in cases in the past five days, saying that without a lockdown the pressure on the healthcare system would be 'unbearable'.  Many European countries have already introduced nationwide lockdowns where a second global wave of the Covid-19 virus has spiked in the last number of days. 

Under the new nationwide restrictions to take effect from Saturday, retail businesses will be shut with the exeption of supermarkets and pharmacies.  People will need a permit to venture outdoors at allocated times.  Primery schools will stay open, but high schools will shut.  All restaurants, tavernas, cafes and bars will close, unless they can provide a take-away service.  Greece has reported fewer cases than most in Europe, mainly due to an early nationwide lockdown it imposed when the pandemic broke out in February.  It started to unwind these restrictions in May.  Since early October, Greece has seen a surge in infections and has been reimposing curbs.  It follows other major European countries that have begun new lockdowns.

During the three-week lockdown, supermarkets, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers and other food stores will continue to operate according to their regular opening hours.  Pharmacies, petrol stations, kiosks, dry cleaners, vets and pet shops will also continue to operate as usual, as will retailers operating electronic stores with a delivery service.  Weekly street/farmers markets will proceed as usual, though the number of stalls will be reduced by half and will have to maintain a distance of at least 5 metres from one another.  The use of a face mask is now mandatory whenever one is outside the home.  Fines have been increased for the second lockdown from 150 Euros to 300 Euros for violations.  Greece cannot tolerate a small proportion of people who do not abide by the rules being responsible for spreading the virus. 

Authorities have set a maximum 65% capacity on public transport during the lockdown, while taxis are only allowed to carry one passenger, unless they are being accompanied by underage children or a person needing a caretaker.  Private motorists will only be allowed to carry one passenger, but are not required to wear a mask if they are travelling with a member of their own household.

New emergency anti-virus measures were announced on Wednesday 11th November due to the large increase in Covid-19 related cases and deaths, particularly in Thessaloniki and Attica.  Starting Friday 13th November, all movement outside one's home from 21:00 - 05:00 will be prohibited, except in the case of medical emergencies, walking a pet, or for workers who are carrying the necessary documentation.  With this new measure, all supermarkets will now close at 20:30 and remain closed on Sundays.

Text messages and typed or hand-written notes will once more become part of the everyday life in Greece.  Under the new rules, only those going to or from their workplace, shopping for food or medicine, visiting a doctor or pharmacy, taking brief exercise or walking their pets will be allowed to leave their homes.  In order to leave their home, people must carry a police ID or a passport with them, and a form which stipulates one of the approved reasons to be out.  Generally speaking, people may only leave their homes for the following eight reasons:

1. Going to and from work during work hours.
2. Going to a pharmacy or a scheduled medical appointment.
3. Going to a store for basic goods, when there is no home delivery.
4. Going to the bank if an online transaction is not possible.
5. Going to help out people in need.
6. Going to an event such as a wedding, baptism, funeral or such, in accordance with the law.
7. Going out to exercise or to walk a pet, and only singly or by two.  A distance of 1.5 metres must be kept between the walkers/runners.
8. Moving back to one’s main residence.

Leaving your home:  All people residing in Greece will be required to send an SMS text message to 13033 in order to obtain permission to leave their homes during the lockdown period.  The SMS should be formatted as follows: X (one of the digits 1-6 corresponding to the activities below), name, surname and address.  The six reasons (you must SMS) are: 

  1. Visit to a pharmacy or visit to a doctor/vet if necessary
  2. Visit to a supermarket or stores for essential supplies
  3. Visit to a bank if e-banking transactions are not possible
  4. Visit to people needing assistance or escorting children to and from school
  5. Attending a funeral, as per the conditions provided by the law, or visiting children in case of divorced parents
  6. Physical exercise outdoors or up to two persons taking their pet for a walk while always observing a 1.5-metre distance.