Greece asks faithful to be COVID-clear to attend church

Greece has introduced new restrictions that require church attendees to present a negative COVID-19 test to attend service on Sunday, following the surge in infections over the past few weeks. ..

A new rule announced on November 18 will keep unvaccinated people out of indoor spaces such as restaurants, cinemas, museums and gyms, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

In the case of the church, Sunday was the first day that those attending church worship had to present a negative test.

“(This is) to protect ourselves and the people,” said Father Christos, a priest of the Church of Aios Spiridon in the city of Piraeus.

“It may be a little difficult, but we will continue to do our best. We have a duty to obey everything.”

Some church attendees said less people would come to worship on Sundays because they would have to pay for unvaccinated tests.

However, of the four churches Reuters visited on Sunday, only one volunteer checked, by a parishioner unfamiliar with them.

Greece recorded a surge in infections this month, setting a record high for daily cases. By Saturday, the country had recorded 920,683 infections and 17,861 deaths since the outbreak began.

“I don’t like it, but what can we do? We adhere, but today the church is empty. Obviously, people come here with their children, so Can’t bear the cost, how much money do they have to spend? “said a woman called Athena.

Chrysoula Bezentakou said he believes people are afraid. “People don’t want quick tests and vaccinations,” she said. “I think it’s psychological.”