Greece Under Virtual Lockdown

May You Live In Interesting Times
~Chinese Proverb

In Greece, people are discovering how serious the government is about its recommendations to stay home. Now, it’s not only a recommendation but also has been imposed by law, and going outside of your home can only be done for specific reasons.

Last week, the Greek Government ordered non-essential businesses to close in response to COVID-19 concerns with only a few allowed to remain open including supermarkets. However, many people in Greece decided to travel to the various islands or to “their village” which caused concern that there could be silent carriers of COVID-19 traveling and possibly spreading the virus to those who were not infected and who would otherwise not come in contact with a carrier.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions In Greece

As a result, strict regulations were announced to ensure that as much as possible, people stayed inside their homes. There are some exemptions including being able to leave for:

  • Necessary work related reasons
  • Going to the pharmacy or visiting a doctor after telephone contact and being advised it’s recommended
  • Going to a supply store where delivery of their products is not available
  • Going to the bank when electronic transactions are not possible
  • Going to help people in need
  • Going to a wedding or funeral under conditions provided by law, or transition of legally separated or divorced parents which is crucial for the communications between children and parents
  • Short commute near home for the purposes of physical exercise or walking a pet and allowing the pet to do what pets need to do.

In order to carry out any of these activities that involve leaving the home, people in Greece must first download a permit or hand-write it out and fill in the necessary information. Originally, these permits were only available in the Greek language but have not been updated to include permits in English.

There are two permits – the first is a “Work Commute Permit For Employees” and the second is called “Extraordinary Movement Permit” and both are available from the Greek government website at https://forma.gov.gr.

In lieu of downloading and printing or handwriting the permit, one can also “issue” a permit by sending a text message to 13033 which will include the reason for leaving your home, your full name, and address.

When out, all must carry an acceptable form of ID or Passport with them on their person.

Comments On The Greece COVID-19 Lockdown Travel Restrictions

It’s a bit weird to call this a “permit” when in fact, it seems to be mostly a self-activated thing. For many people in Greece, it might be difficult as there are still a significant number of people who aren’t up to date on technology.

There is also no mention of any time limitations or how long a self-issued permit is good for. People found outside their homes can be stopped by both the National police and other enforcement agencies and asked to show their “permit” along with their ID.

What are normally very busy streets are now very quiet, with only the odd pedestrian (usually walking their dogs), or the odd vehicle on the road, likely out to make a delivery somewhere.

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