July 24, 2021

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Greek police have set up checkpoints, push back Easter travelers

Greek police have set up checkpoints, push back Easter travelers


Police in Greece have set up checkpoints along highways leading out of Athens to enforce a tightened travel ban for Orthodox Easter on May 2

The Easter holidays are often celebrated with relatives outside Athens and other cities, but the government has said that COVID-19 infection levels remain too high to allow for free travel.

Churches closed last Easter, but will be able to remain open for services this year, with seating restrictions and mandatory use of COVID-19 kits for priests and church staff. The main Easter service next Saturday will be held three hours earlier, at 9pm due to curfew measures, while the government advises worshipers to stay outdoors.

Additional travel restrictions are in effect until May 10, with movement between the country’s different administrative regions only permitted for specific business purposes, medical emergencies, funerals of close relatives, and parental visits for divorced and separated fathers of older children under the age of 18.

“The cars are checked and people without proper documentation (to justify non-essential journeys) are sent back to Athens. Our inspections will take place every day and 24 hours a day, ”Giorgos Yiaseranis, a police officer responsible for highway safety in greater Athens, told reporters at a checkpoint near a toll station west of Athens.

The pandemic killed nearly 10,000 people in Greece. Most of the restrictions, including school and shop closures, have been in place since early November, when the overall death toll was still below 750.

Services for the country’s vital tourism industry will open on May 15 and many restrictions will be eased before that date. Shopping malls will reopen on Saturday, while restaurants and cafes will be able to serve customers seated outdoors starting May 3. ———

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