New restrictions as Greece enters lockdown on Saturday

The government clarified the lockdown measures that were announced at noon on Thursday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and which will go into effect as of 06:00 on Saturday, with few exceptions.

At a press conference with related ministers, Civil Protection Deputy Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias detailed the restrictions of public travel outside homes and workplaces, which should be limited to the absolute minimum and include either permission through the text messaging (SMS) to number 13033, or documentation issued by employers or primary school principals, among others.

General restrictions

Some of the restrictions announced by the deputy minister include the following (as of Saturday, unless otherwise noted):

– Travel between prefectures is banned.

– Entry to Greece by air or land is allowed only after a negative PCR test, while those travelling abroad will also be required to supply a negative PCR test. Those entering Greece by air should have done the test 48 hours before departure, at most, while those coming by land 72 hours before departure. He said that for overland crossing into Greece there will be a five-day transitional period before the measure is introduced, while for those travelling by air, the measure goes into effect on Monday. More details will follow on Friday, he said.- Special education schools and primary schools will remain open; all the rest will use e-learning platforms.

– Hairdressers and barbers will be able to operate exceptionally (and only if the owners wish so) on Saturday and Sunday, before going on lockdown on Monday.

– Food deliveries and takeaways are acceptable, but picking up food must not serve as the reason to go out per se.

– Most retail stores except supermarkets and such local markets will shut down. Retail store sections dealing with e-orders and deliveries will operate as usual.

SMS system

As Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis announced earlier, and Hardalias repeated, the public will once again be asked to use text messaging (SMSs) to provide a reason for their movements outside their homes.

As of Saturday morning at 6:00, citizens are required to send an SMS to 13033 on their mobile phones before leaving their house, citing the specific reason for going outside, or fill out a related form by hand. Directions and forms to be filled out by those unable to send SMSs were available, Hardalias said, through the government site of forma.gov.gr.

The SMS should be formatted as follows: X, name, surname and address, where X should be one of the digits 1-6 corresponding to the activities below.

1- Visit to a pharmacy or visit to a doctor if necessary
2 – Visit to a supermarket or stores for essential supplies
3 – Visit to a bank if e-banking transactions are not possible
4 – Visit to people needing assistance or escorting children to and from school
5 – Attending a funeral, as per the conditions provided by the law, or visiting children in case of divorced parents
6 – Physical exercise outdoors or up to two persons taking their pet for a walk while always observing a 1.5-metre distance.

“I am obliged to stress that during evening hours in particular, checks will be intensified and the reasons for movement at these hours should be limited to health, work, personal exercise or taking a pet out for a walk,” Hardalias noted.

What remains open

Exact lists of which stores may remain open is available on the Development & Investments Ministry’s site, Secretary General for Trade and Consumer Protection Panagiotis Stamboulidis said on Thursday, as the government filled in the details of a second lockdown in effect as of Saturday, with minor exceptions.

Most retail trade stores will be shut down, except for supermarkets (no change in hours), local markets, kiosks and the e-commerce section of retail stores.

Opticians and stores selling hearing aids will remain open, but only by appointment.

Stores selling telecoms, computers, and phones will work through e-shops only.

Other stores remaining open include: pharmacies, dry cleaners, kiosks (24 hours), gas stations, health and veterinary service centers, pet shops, and open markets (laikes), which will work at 50 pct capacity, and distancing of 5 meters between stalls.

As already mentioned, hair dressers, barber shops and beauty centers will shut on Monday, but may work Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 7-8) only, at the discretion of their owners.

Supermarkets, butchers and fish stores will be open from 09:00 to 17:00 on Sunday, November 15.

The secretary general also said that the ministry’s consumer line, 1520, would be able to provide more information for both businesses and the public.