Greek sanitary authorities are concerned about the congestion in squares in Athens and Thessaloniki, when bars and clubs close at midnight and people flock there. Although new measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 require almost all commercial activity to be halted between midnight and 5:00 am, congestion phenomena in public places are numerous.
Health experts and the government have made it clear that if people do not comply with the measures, they will have to gradually implement a new package of restrictive measures, always trying to avoid a renewal of the blockade, calling it a last resort. Speaking on Sunday in the Kathimerini newspaper, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said one month of complete blockade would cut Greece’s GDP by 2.5-3 percent.
However, weekend reports show that young people are flocking to the squares in the two main cities, which raises a lot of concern as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the last month equals the numbers from March to the end of August combined. The overcrowding phenomenon has been intense this weekend, despite Greek police monitoring. Health authorities fear the most that young carriers of the virus may pass it on to a high-risk group aged 65 and over.
If the situation reaches a dangerous point, there will be a request to restrict the movement of citizens over the age of 65, an infectious disease specialist and a member of the coronavirus commission; Nikos Sypsas told SKAI television. The plan is ready, he said, but the committee has yet to make a suggestion.
For his part, the president of the Hellenic Society of Infectious Diseases; Panagiotis Gargalianos stressed that the problem is not citizens over 65, but young people who are infected and transmit the virus to vulnerable people over 65. Voices from people who oppose the measures, and especially those who refuse to wear a mask, are getting louder as the government warns of new, stricter measures to prevent coronavirus.
At the same time, there are those who suffer greatly from traffic restrictions. Owners of clubs, bars, restaurants, theaters and cinemas complain that Covid-19 measures are literally killing their business.
On Saturday evening, the owners of bars, cafes and restaurants in Thessaloniki organized their own protest party around the White Tower, the symbol of the city. With music and dancing, they expressed their dissatisfaction with the government’s actions, which forced some of their peers to close their business.