Greece Will Ease Main Lockdown Measures in Early May

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Greece will ease its main pandemic restrictions in early May, ahead of the country opening to international tourism in the middle of the month, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

“The aim is to have a safe Easter and a free summer,” Mitsotakis said in an address on national television.

Tourism is one of the country’s most important industries, accounting for about a fifth of the economy and more than a quarter of jobs. Revenue plunged more than 76% in 2020 as governments closed borders and imposed lockdowns to contain the coronavirus.

Greek restaurants, bars and cafes will raise their shutters from May 3 for outdoor dining only as part of the easing. Primary and secondary schools will welcome pupils from May 10 and movement between regions will be allowed again from May 15 to coincide with the nation’s opening to all international visitors.

The government chose to keep restrictions on movement through Orthodox Easter next week to avoid a possible spread of the coronavirus, Mitsotakis said. The holiday traditionally sparks an exodus of people from urban centers to rural areas. The daily number of new cases and people hospitalized in intensive care units in cities, including the capital Athens, remains high.

Still, the numbers are stabilizing, Mitsotakis said, urging Greeks to get vaccinated as “the danger isn’t in the vaccine but in the disease and pain.”

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