Greece enters stricter lockdown measures for the pandemic, through Jan. 10

A man in a face mask feeds pigeons in Milan, as the country is hit by the coronavirus outbreak, Italy February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

Stricter week-long restriction measures to manage the rise in coronavirus cases went into effect at 06:00 on Sunday, January 3, as announced by the government on Saturday.

The measures include a night curfew from 21:00 to 05:00 next morning, suspension of pick-up orders at retail stores (“click away”), and the shutdown of retail stores including beauty businesses. Churches, which were open on a limited schedule and under restrictions during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, will also be shut. The Greek Orthodox church ceremony of the retrieval of the cross from the sea on Epiphany Day (Wednesday) is also banned.

If there is no extension beyond Jan. 10, retail businesses and other activities will return to the previous state of restrictions.

An assessment of the measures and the clinical data will take place at the end of the week, according to government spokesman Stelios Petsas on Saturday. He said the measures had a double purpose, of relieving the National Health System and of ensuring that schools can reopen on January 11.

In addition, the Finance Ministery announced also on Saturday that businesses forced to remain shut in January will be relieved of the obligation to pay rent for that month of January.