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        Latest on Covid-19  – Helpful Guidance to English Speakers in Greece

        Similar to the six week March experience, here we go again with government clamp down on our day to day living.  Like everywhere in the Hellenic Republic, we as Living in #Crete residents need to ask permission again to leave the home for essential journeys or face a fine of 150 euros for non compliance from Saturday November 7th at 0600hrs. Even if you are healthy in any age group you have to wear a mask anytime, anywhere.  Inside or Outside.

        Greek Prime Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the new measures on November 4th for a 3 week nationwide quarantine for all.

        Second coronavirus wave puts everyone in Greece at Risk – spreading rapidly

        Mr Mitsotakis said the second wave of the pandemic threatens all of Greece that puts the health system at risk.The system is likely to be overloaded, overworked, inundated – that is the meaning of the statement.

        Mitsotakis’ decisions are backed by the Greek Minister of Health, Mr. Sodiris Tsiodras citing the epidemiological data from iefimerida.gr  that shows Thessaloniki and Serres as Covid-19 hotspots and already in lockdown and the rapid spread of infection. Other hotspots include Attica region (includes (Athens and Piraeus). The rest of the country now has to fall in line.

        So it is back to forced use of the free SMS to connect beforehand to the government to explain each of our movements outside the home between 0500hrs and 2100hrs each day and the reasons why.

        The Greek Government SMS number is 13033 on a Greek mobile phone. Travel is again restricted to only the prefecture you live in.

        You can sign also, on a piece of paper, a declaration in Greek to state the reason for being outside legitimately. The example shown was for a supermarket trip on March 27th this year. The same paper was used for subsequent visits, adding the date and time. Police road blocks were in force. The form was needed for inspection.
        Example Greece Covid-19 Travel Form

        Six Permissable Reasons for daytime travel while underlockdown for three weeks

        1. Employers must provide the appropriate covering letter (government calls this a type A letter) for employees to travel to and from work. No SMS required

        2. Subject to further verification in fast moving circumstances. Primary Schools and Kindergartens likely operate normally while High Schools likely to be closed. Of course, guardians and close relatives are permitted to take youngsters to and from their education facuility in addition to the parents. BUT, the education location has to provide a ‘certificate’ to show police if stopped the route they are taking from residence to get the child/children to/from the centre they attend. Children of divorced/separated parents are permitted to be ferried between them. Best to carry some evidence that indicates the activity. Note: Outdoor excerise for the kids is to be shutdown including all forms of entertainment, from playgrounds to amusement and theme parks.

        3. Personal health situation: doctor’s appointment, getting to a pharmacy , or to a hospital or health center.

        4. A need to visit a public entity such as urgent need to maintain a service from a telephony retail outlet, the DEH electric company etc and only visit a bank when on urgent business or a nearby ATM is not functioning.

        5. Helping someone in need. This includes driving a partner/spouse to their work location or a close relative in clear difficulty to them out in a moment of real need.

        6. This is a difficult area to address I would suggest because it tugs at the heart strings – funerals (only 9 attendees), weddings, christenings etc. Guidance to come from the local regional governments. (For the Island of Crete, that is the periferia offices in Heraklion which cover all of Crete). Church services will still happen if the local papas agrees, but without congregations. Phew!

        7. Another testy area. Physical exercise outdoors and taking the pet out for needed walks and runs. pet, Two people from the same household can do these activities. But hey, don’t forget to keep that all important 1.5 metre separation. Oh yes, you can feed stray animals also – as long as it is your local area (municipality).

        What About Shopping for Essentials on Crete?

        Firstly, most of us need a car to get to the retail outlets. Only a driver and one passenger is permitted.

        Most retail outlets will shut. The main exceptions are supermarkets, minimarkets, pharmacies and pet stores. Supermarkets are expected to stay open all weekend with a minimum closing time of at least 8:30pm.

        Citizen’s Rights?

        The Greek Prime Minister acknowledges these are tough decisions for lock down and quarantine on everyone, but are essential in the current crisis. Personally, I still am not convinced that Covid-19 is more dangerous than for the seasonal flu of which we hear hardly anything in the news.   Greece follows the UK that started lockdown on November 4th.

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