Greece Almost Back to Normalcy as Retail Shops, High Schools Open



More than 150,000 employees returned to work on Monday, with most retail shops opening, as Greece enters the second phase of the relaxation of measures to contain the coronavirus.

A government deputy minister said about 25 percent of all the businesses which were forced to close in mid-March will re-open again on Monday. Many of the shops will have late opening hours and all will have to enforce crowd-distancing measures.

Retailers will be allowed up to four customers in shops of up to 20 square meters (215 square feet) in area; four people plus one for each additional 10 square meters (108 square feet) in premises up to 100 square meters (1076 square feet); and 12 persons plus one per additional 15 square meters (161 square feet) for premises exceeding 100 square meters.

All shopping malls, restaurants and bars in Greece still remain closed for now, however.

Also on Monday, most high school seniors returned to school to prepare for the country-wide university entrance exams, which will take place sometime in July.

However, many students have opted to stay away from class, preferring instead to spend the next few weeks preparing for the exams at home.

Last week, the Education Ministry sent comprehensive guidelines to the country’s schools, detailing all the necessary hygiene measures and the other information teachers, parents and students need to know.

Apart from maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 meters (four feet, eleven inches) away from other pupils and teachers, students are also being instructed not to exchange books, pens or stationery.

Pupils will also have to use keyboard covers, in accordance with health authorities’ guidelines, while chairs must be disinfected before the next student sits down in them.