The government on Friday announced additional restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 in Attica and other regions. The new rules will start on Saturday and run through to 4 October.

Greece’s Deputy Civil Protection and Crises Management Minister Nikos Hardialias announced the regulation. From 26 September, all establishments that serve food and drinks will now be permitted to open from 5 am instead of 7 am in the morning. No business in the retail sector will be permitted to operate from midnight to 5am, including kiosks, liquor stores and mini-markets. The sole exceptions will be pharmacies and fuel stations.

Trikala, a city in northwestern Thessaly, will need to follow special restrictions from 5am Saturday morning, with new rules including the mandatory wearing of masks in all outdoor areas along with previous restrictions already in place.

Areas where there are now special restrictions include Imathia, Kilkis, Pella, Pieria, Halkidiki, Chania and Heraklion on Crete, Zakynthos, Lesbos and Mykonos. Areas under “epidemiological surveillance” (Eastern Macedonia-Thrace Region and areas of Thessaloniki, Karditsa, Larisa, Corfu, Volos, Santorini, Rhodes, Kos, Paros and Antiparos) have special regulations. Restaurants are permitted to provide take-away, drive-through and delivery services, barring the sale of alcohol.

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In Trikala, there is additionally a ban on all types of public and private events, such as parties, fairs, processions, street markets etc, a ban on gatherings of more than nine people both in public and private spaces, while only four can sit at the same table in a restaurant, or six if they are immediate family.

These restrictions will apply from 6 am on Saturday morning until the same hour on Saturday, 10 October.

The minister also fielded questions regarding the situation in Attica, which currently accounts for roughly half the cases nationwide, confirming that there was a great epidemiological burden in the centre of Athens and certain districts.

He also announced that a campaign targeting migrants, in 14 different languages, was currently underway in collaboration with the heads of refugee and migrant communities, to help contain the spread of the virus within these groups.

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He emphasised the need to stick and faithfully implement the protection measures, exercising self-restraint now to avoid a quarantine later, saying that this was something that applied to all, not the just the areas with high infection rates.

“At this moment we are at a critical point where we must all realise one thing: if for 14 days we all wear our mask, keep our distance, have our antiseptics, this is the greatest response to any prospect of lockdown. It won’t be needed, we will be done with the virus. But it has to be done in an organised way, as the overwhelming majority of Greeks did in the past with great success, in order win this battle also.”