Greece today banned parties and shut down open-air markets in two popular holiday resorts to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Gatherings will be limited to nine people on the island of Mykonos and across the coastal area of Halkidiki, with only four people or six close relatives allowed to share a table at restaurants.
The measures also include compulsory mask-wearing in public spaces, including outdoors.
Greece yesterday saw a record 269 new cases and the spike has led to fears that the country could be next to be struck off the UK’s travel corridor list.
Greek civil protection authorities announced the new measures today, which will take effect from Friday and stay in place until at least August 31.
No more than four people can be seated at the same table in restaurants unless they are very close relatives, in which case the limit is increased to six people.
Events including live parties, religious processions and open-air markets are banned under the new rules.
The government has been rolling out restrictions to fight the recent spike in infections, including shutting down bars and restaurants from midnight.
Authorities have also been urging young people to wear masks as they return from holidays, with several countries seeing spikes linked in cases among youngsters.
Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday warned the country’s young people to rein in reckless behaviour seen as contributing to the spike.
‘I want to make a special appeal to our youth. I too have children of that age,’ Mitsotakis said ahead of additional curfew restrictions announced for Athens and other areas.
‘Please…take care of yourselves, you are not immune, and your parents and grandparents are especially not immune,’ said the prime minister, a father of three.
Based on the latest data up to Tuesday, Greece has recorded a total of 7,472 Covid-19 infections and 232 deaths.
On Tuesday, deputy civil protection minister Nikos Hardalias told reporters Greece continued to be in a ‘better situation’ compared with other European countries.
Greece, he said, ranked 180th in terms of deaths per million inhabitants, noting that 83of per cent recent infections were due to domestic dispersion of the virus because people did not observe proper social distancing.
On Mykonos, with a reputation as a party island that never sleeps, congested beach parties during the peak summer season have led authorities to clamp down.
Meanwhile, eateries and bars are closing at midnight in greater Athens, Thessaloniki and popular islands including Corfu, Santorini and Crete.
Greece is currently one of the ‘travel corridor’ countries on the UK government’s list, meaning people can return from Greece without having to quarantine.
In addition, Greece is exempt from the Foreign Office advice against non-essential international travel during the pandemic.
However, the recent rises in cases has led to fears that Greece could be struck off the travel corridor list, leaving holidaymakers in chaos.
Ministers acted abruptly to shut down the travel corridors with Spain, France and Belgium among others after spikes in cases.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps last week identified a threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 people in a week as crucial to the quarantine rules.
Italy, Croatia and Germany have also seen worrying increases but are still on the travel corridor list.