Greek Authorities Concerned over Crowding in Squares at Night



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Greek health authorities are concerned over the crowding in squares in Athens and Thessaloniki now that bars and clubs are shutting down at midnight with people flocking there.

Even though the new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 call for stopping almost all commercial activities between midnight and 5:00 am, crowding phenomena in public places abound.

Health experts and the government have made it clear that if people do not comply with the measures, they will be forced to gradually implement a new package of restrictive measures, always trying to avoid the resumption of a lockdown, calling it a last resort.

Speaking on Kathimerini newspaper on Sunday, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said that one month of total lockdown will have Greece’s GDP shrink by 2.5-3 percent.

Yet, weekend reports show that young people gather massively at squares in the two major cities, causing great concern, as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the past month equal the numbers between March and the end of August together.

The overcrowding phenomena this weekend were intense, despite monitoring of Greek police. What health authorities fear the most is that young carriers of the virus might transmit it to the high-risk group of 65 and over.

If the situation reaches a dangerous point, there will be a request to restrict the movement of citizens 65 and over, infectious disease specialist and member of the committee for tackling the coronavirus; Nikos Sypsas told SKAI television.

As he stated, the plan is ready, however, the committee has not yet made the suggestion.

For his part, the President of the Hellenic Society of Infectious Diseases; Panagiotis Gargalianos stressed that the problem is not the citizens over 65 but the young people who are infected and transmit the virus to those over 65 who are at risk.

The voices of the people who defy the measures and especially those who do not want to wear a mask are getting louder as the government warns of new, more strict measures to prevent the coronavirus.

At the same time, there are those who suffer greatly from movement restrictions. Club, bar, restaurant, theater, and cinema owners complain that the Covid-19 measures literally kill their businesses.

On Saturday night, bar, cafe, and restaurant owners in Thessaloniki held their own protest party around the White Tower, the city’s landmark. With music and dancing, they expressed their discontent with the government measures that have forced several of their peers to shut down.