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24 Jun, 2021 14:39

Sun’s out, masks off: Greece scraps mandatory face covering rule outdoors in time for summer, as Covid risk drops

Sun’s out, masks off: Greece scraps mandatory face covering rule outdoors in time for summer, as Covid risk drops

Greek authorities have announced that people will no longer be required to wear masks outdoors – unless attending a large gathering – as Greece’s Covid situation has improved, with cases dropping and vaccinations increasing.

Starting Thursday, Greece will no longer consider wearing a mask outside to be mandatory.

The decision was made late on Wednesday, on the premise that Greece’s Covid cases have dropped. “The number of intubated people and deaths is decreasing every day. The current situation is encouraging,” said Vana Papaevaggelou, a member of the Greek scientific committee. The Greek authorities have confirmed that, at present, wearing a mask indoors is still mandatory.

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In light of recent improvements, other measures will also be eased from Monday. Vaccinated employees will no longer have to self-test weekly for Covid, and larger groups (up to ten) can now meet in restaurants or cafes. Greek authorities also plan to lift a curfew that is currently in place from 1:30am to 5am from June 28 onwards.

Face masks were made mandatory in enclosed and public spaces in October 2020. 

Greece’s decision follows similar moves by other European countries to abandon wearing masks outside, such as France on June 17. Spain has confirmed it will scrap masks from June 26, and Italy is to follow suit on June 28.

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Since the start of the pandemic, Greece has recorded 418,943 cases and 12,541 deaths, according to WHO data. Cases have dropped significantly in Greece, with the current seven-day case average standing at around 388 as of June 23.

As of June 13, 7,616,421 doses of Covid vaccines have been administered, with around 42.6% having received at least one dose, and 30.3% of the population being fully vaccinated.

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