Greece lockdown measures lift allowing schools and courts to reopen

Primary and junior high students across Greece were able to return to in-person classes on Monday for the first time in months as the country eased coronavirus restrictions.

As of Monday, not only are students able to return to class, but courts have also been able to resume activities.

Civil courts are open again to all cases, while criminal courts will be hearing cases involving defendants who are already in custody, along with those that will reach the statute of limitations by the end of next year.

According to The Associated Press, long lines formed outside one courthouse in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Monday, with parties arriving for cases that have put off during the pandemic.

The easing of restrictions comes even though daily coronavirus infections and deaths in Greece have remained relatively high, with 1,427 new cases identified and 51 deaths recorded on Sunday, according to data gathered by the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Sunday, the country had a total of 362,000 confirmed cases and just over 11,000 deaths.

Greece has been under strict coronavirus restrictions since early November, but has begun easing measures ahead of the summer’s tourist season.

Last week, restaurants, bars and cafes were able to open for outdoor seating for the first time since the restrictions were brought in place, while retail stores have also been able to reopen by appointment only.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the country also reopened its organised beaches in preparation for tourists.

Greece has also announced that domestic travel between regions would be able to resume at the end of this week, which will also see the reopening of museums, open-air cinemas and other venues.

“On May 14, an extremely important step will be taken, both for society and for the economy, with the opening of the tourism sector and the resumption of domestic regional travel,” government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said in a statement on Monday.

“The resumption of economic and social activities will be done gradually, carefully, with strict surveillance of individual and collective defense measures, as the virus remains very much among us,” she said.

In a separate statement released on Monday, Greek Minister for Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis said he understood that some retail sectors had “suffered greater losses due to seasonality”.

“Of course, the government is considering how it could support those sectors of the economy that have suffered the most damage due to the pandemic,” he said.

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