Greece reopens beaches, seeks to kick-start summer tourism period

Greece reopens beaches, seeks to kick-start summer tourism period

Greece’s General Secretariat for Civil Protection decided on Wednesday to order the reopening of over 500 organized beaches across the country as of the upcoming weekend.

With a heatwave approaching, it is hoped that reopening organized beaches will see less people gathering at public beaches, a phenomenon epidemiologists say is dangerous as it could help spread coronavirus.

Over the last two weekends, Greeks flocked to public beaches and squares in many areas across the country. This has alarmed health authorities as a lifting of restrictions on movement was meant to unfold gradually and in the safest possible manner.

The General Secretariat for Civil Protection announced 40 people will be allowed to visit organized beaches per 1,000 square meters, umbrellas will be placed 4 meters apart and a minimum distance of 1.5 meters must be kept between visitors. On site cafes and bars will only serve take away food and non-alcoholic drinks, while seating will not be allowed.

The rules were announced on the same day the European Commission announced plans to restart the Tourism sector across the bloc. Athens welcomed the EU non-binding suggestions to reopen internal borders and restart travel, pointing out that many Greek proposals were adopted.

Under the Commission’s proposals, airlines and airports would insist passengers wear masks, and re-organise check-ins, drop-offs and luggage pickups to avoid crowds. They would not require that middle seats be left empty on planes.

People will be allowed to stay in hotels, eat in restaurants or visit beaches, with the situation being monitored to prevent a new surge in infections.

Finally, Greece’s Health Ministry announced 16 newly confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday. The total number of people who have contracted the virus in Greece now stands at 2,760. The death toll climbed to 155. The vast majority of the people that have died faced underlying health problems and/or were over 70 years old./ibna