Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis and Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis presented a detailed breakdown of the measures announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on obligatory vaccination and the operation of places of entertainment during a joint press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
Health Minister Kikilias: All staff in welfare facilities must be vaccinated by August 16
In spite of a high rate of vaccination, hospital admissions for Covid-19 have in recent days spiked to above 100 a day, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias announced on Tuesday, during a press conference detailing the measures announced on Monday by the prime minister – such as mandatory vaccination for those working in care homes for the elderly and people with special needs and in the health system, both public and private.
Those working in welfare facilities must be get at least the first dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 by August 16 or else be suspended from their work without pay, the minister said. In addition, anyone admitted to such units must be fully vaccinated, with extremely steep fines ranging from 50,000 to 200,000 euros for those failing to comply.
For staff in public and private healthcare, he said that they must all get at least the first dose of a vaccine by September 1 and that legislation will be passed for the replacement of all those not vaccinated by that date. A special committee will be set up to determine whether healthcare workers can be exempted for health reasons, he added.
“I recommend that anyone who has not been vaccinated should get vaccinated,” he added.
Pierrakakis presents ‘Covid Free GR’ app for checking Covid certificates
During Tuesday’s press conference to break down the measures announced by the prime minister, Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis presented the digital app ‘Covid Free GR’, which will be used by places of entertainment to check if the European certificates of immunisation against Covid presented by their customers are genuine.
The app will be available for download on Tuesday, to either iOS or Android phones or tablets and is provided free of charge via the Hellenic Republic’s official account in App Store and Google Play.
Pierrakakis said the process of downloading the app is simple and easy and clarified that this will present only the name of the certificate holder, in order to check against ID, while it will not store any personal information or history. He said that verification of the European certificates will not require internet access but that it is necessary for verifying the Greek certificates.
The app has three colour codes, with green indicating valid vaccination or immunisation through contracting Covid, yellow indicating a confirmed negative PCR or rapid test and red meaning an invalid certificate or error.
In order to be admitted to an indoor entertainment venue, vaccination certificates are valid 14 days after the final dose, certificates of immunity through illness are valid up to six months after diagnosis, rapid tests are valid for 48 hours – starting at 00:01 on the date the sample was taken – and PCR tests are valid for 72 hours, again from 00:01 on the date the sample was taken.
Georgiadis: A summer of only seated customers
Outlining the restrictions that will apply for indoor places of entertainment, Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis stressed that the economy’s performance will largely depend on how religiously the protective measures are followed and whether people respond to the invitation to get vaccinated. To a great extent, he added, the behaviour of each individual person “will determine the result within the next weeks”.
He noted that similar measures were being taken by all European countries.
Georgiadis said that this summer only seated customers will be allowed in venues until August 31, as the rising numbers of cases worldwide did not allow any relaxation of measures. “For those working in tourism, it is a vital issue to not give the impression that things in Greece are out of control, to present an organised image, for businesses to operate without obstruction and to preserve jobs.
From July 16 until August 31, he said, indoor places of entertainment will be able to admit only immunised (vaccinated or immune through illness) customers, operating at 85 pct capacity.
Open-air places of entertainment will have the option to operate as Covid-free or mixed venues that all admit people that are not vaccinated.
Spectator sports will operate as covid-free venues, with up to 25,000 attending in open-air stadiums and 8,000 in indoor stadiums. Children will be required to take self-tests.
In both the public and private sector, employers will have the right to ask their employees whether or not they are vaccinated and inform the public of the extent of the danger will special signs.
The minister clarified that soldiers doing their national service will not be forced to get vaccinated but those that do will get five days leave.
Businesses that break the rules will face a fine of 2,000 euros and a seven-day closure for a first offence if they are under 200 square metres, while the fine rises to 5,000 euros for larger venues. For second-time offenders, the fine increases to 10,000 and a 15-day suspension of operation while a third offence will see a temporary withdrawal of their business licence for 60 days.
He noted that fines may be imposed based on evidence posted on social media.