Extension of mandatory use of face masks from Wednesday

ATHENS. Announced by Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias at his weekly update on Tuesday 28 July.

July / 2020

Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias announced today that the use of face masks will be mandatory in more indoor spaces from Wednesday 29 July.

In his weekly update Mr. Hardalias announced that in addition to supermarkets and public transport the use of face masks will be mandatory in the following:

- Retail shops
- Public utility companies
- Banks
- Surgeries
- Municipal buildings
- Consumer service offices
- lifts
- Food shops (bakeries, butchers, greengrocers etc)
- Hairdressers and beauty parlours

Masks are already mandatory for employees in cafes, restaurants and bars and he said that it is strongly recommended that masks be used in all indoor spaces and outdoors where social distancing is not possible.

The Deputy Minister said that the vast majority of churches are implementing the measures and, in cooperation with the Greek Church, the addition of further measures will be looked into.

He said that we need to learn to live with the use of masks - the increase in domestic cases should lead neither to panic nor to complacency and he insisted that we must adhere to the protection guidelines.

Imported cases

With regard to international arrivals Nikos Hardalias said that over the last few days close attention is being paid to Spain due to the spikes in the pandemic and the number of tests has been doubled. He pointed out that the algorithm being used assesses the risk for each individual visitor.

The situation with domestic cases remains satisfactory but there mustn't be any complacency. The R number remains at 0.4,

The increase in the number of cases in Athens and Thessaloniki shows us that the virus is still with us and we must continue to do what is necessary.

The Deputy Minister presented the latest data for the country. Between 1 and 26 July there were 1,294,798 international arrivals and 171,138 COVID-19 tests were carried out.

At the moment there are 145 active cases in Attica and 66 in Thessaloniki. He said that the increase in the number of cases in urban centres shows that the virus is still here and is feeding on our mistakes.

He hinted at the prohibition of traditional fairs (panigiria) in August.

According to the data, 4 of the top 5 countries from which cases have been imported are in the Balkans.

He gave assurances that the cases being recorded are completely manageable and added that "What we need to ensure is that the volume of cases doesn't become so large that we can't conduct proper contact tracing."

Mr. Hardalias said that there are 1,000 targetted tests being carried out every week in areas with high epidemiological data.