News World Greeks return to beaches in heatwave, but keep their umbrellas apart

Greeks return to beaches in heatwave, but keep their umbrellas apart

Greeks flocked to the seaside on Saturday when more than 500 beaches reopened, as the country sought to walk the fine line between protecting people from COVID-19 while reviving the tourism sector that many depend on for their livelihoods.

For many people, it was their first foray into a big public venue since Greece began easing its lockdown earlier this month, and it also coincided with the first heatwave of the year.

Sun-seekers were required to respect distancing rules, which even stipulated how far umbrellas must be kept apart. No more than 40 people were allowed per 1,000 square metres, while umbrella poles must be four metres apart – with canopies no closer than one metre, according to a government-issued manual, complete with diagram.

At Alimos, a popular beach just south of Athens, people queued up from early morning to nab their spot in the sunshine.

“This is the best thing for us elderly.. To come and relax a bit after being locked in,” said Yannis Tentomas, who is his 70s, as he settled down under an umbrella.

He said he was complying with distancing rules, adding: “Its like a gun to the head.”

At a neighbouring beach a drone buzzed over sun-loungers with their loudspeakers urging people to keep safe distances from each other.

The lifting of the lockdown comes as countries around Europe and the world look to ease restrictions imposed to curb the pandemic, and resurrect

‘TURNING POINT’

Greece has reported a fraction of the COVID-19 cases of neighbouring countries – more than 2,800 infections with 160 deaths. From May 4, it began a phased-in easing of the lockdown that had been in place since mid-March.

The country of 11 million people is one of the most dependent in Europe on tourism, which generates about a fifth of its economic output.

Following the reopening of Greek beaches, people will be permitted to attend Church Mass from May 17, while archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, will reopen for visitors on May 18. From Monday, travel across mainland Greece and to Crete will be allowed, and from May 25 to the islands.

“This is a crucial turning point in our efforts and we must succeed,” said Nikos Hardalias, Greece’s civil protection minister.

Tourism officials say they hope to welcome back foreign holidaymakers in July.

Greece’s lockdown, plus the shutdown of much of the world, and most air travel, is likely to have a profound effect on a country only just starting to recover from a decade of financial turmoil and austerity.

Authorities expect anything between a 5% and 10% decline in economic output this year, before recouping lost ground in 2021.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Partly cloudy on Thursday with local rain, isolated thunderstorms

Partly cloudy on Thursday with local rain and isolated thunderstorms as well as light snowfall in the afternoon in high mountains. Winds will initially be...

UNFICYP renewal’s draft text approved, set to be adopted late on Thursday

UN Security Council members have agreed on the text of the draft resolution for the renewal of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)...

128 new cases, three deaths announced on Wednesday

The Health Ministry announced the death of three persons due to COVID-19. This raises the death toll from the virus in Cyprus to 193,...

Where to get antigen rapid tests between Thursday and Sunday

The Health Ministry announced the following antigen rapid test sites during the period 28-31 January 2021: LIMASSOL Church of Agios Ioannis Eleimon, Limassol 08:30-18:30 Cultural Center Mesa...

Israel, Denmark to vaccinate all athletes for Tokyo Olympic Games

Several countries, including Israel and Denmark, said on Wednesday they would vaccinate their athletes and staff against COVID-19 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, amid...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...