Greece announced on Friday that organized beaches and beach clubs throughout the country will open on May 15, with strict health measures.
Speaking to state broadcaster ERT, General Secretary for Commerce and Consumer Protection Panagiotis Stamboulidis assured that health safety measures like physical distancing and masks – mainly for staff – will continue to apply at beach resorts.
He added that beach bars will not be allowed to play music, a measure that will also apply to restaurants and cafes reopening on May 3 and bars when they go back into business later in the month.
Explaining the ban on music, Stamboulidis said that expert reports have indicated that ambient noise can contribute to the spread of the virus by forcing patrons to raise their voices, spreading more particles into the air, and come into closer proximity with one another.
The move comes as Greece is gradually relaxing travel restrictions towards the official opening of the tourist season on May 14.
Beaches reopen after hotels, restaurants, cafes
Hotels and restaurants, one of the mainstays of the tourist trade and the frequent haunts of Greeks during the Summers as they enjoy their amazing cuisine in tavernas and other spots, will reopen after the Easter holiday, on May 3.
According to the country’s strict anti-virus measures, all restaurants and cafes will be open for outdoor seating only, with socially-distanced tables — and no music.
The restrictions state the each table can seat a maximum of six people, and customers must sit, not stand.
While waiting to be seated, customers must wear masks. They are also strongly recommended to wear their masks while not eating or drinking, but this is not mandatory.
Additionally, all staff will have to undergo self testing for the coronavirus twice a week and they must wear masks while working.
When restaurants and cafes open, Greeks will be required to send the number six to the toll-free number 13033 to go out to eat or to have a coffee.
Similarly, they will still have to send a message for all other movements until May 15, just in time for Greece’s planned “full opening” to international tourists for the summer season.
Restrictions on movement and inter-regional travel
Starting on May 3, the curfew will be shortened to six hours daily, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., from the current seven, as it runs from 10 p.m. – 5 a.m.
Since Wednesday, inter-regional travel is permitted. Greeks can travel across regions as long as they remain within their regional unit.
For example, those in Attica can travel between regions there, without leaving Attica.
Those hoping to leave the region where they live have to send the number 6 to 13033, however.
On May 15, free domestic travel between regions will be allowed once again, coinciding with the launch of the tourist season.