Greece allows music in bars and restaurants again as COVID cases drop

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People wearing protective masks walk towards Monastiraki square amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Athens, Greece December 29, 2021. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi/File Photo

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ATHENS, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Greece will allow music in restaurants and bars again and extend their opening hours by lifting some of the restrictions imposed last month now that coronavirus infections and pressure on hospitals are easing , authorities said on Thursday.

Last month, the country forced bars, nightclubs and restaurants to close at midnight, with no permanent customers and no music, following a spike in cases over the Christmas holidays due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

“We have decided to reduce the restrictions, given the evolution of the pandemic in terms of cases which have decreased in recent weeks,” Health Minister Thanos Plevris said in a televised statement.

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He said that despite continued pressure on the healthcare system, the rate of hospital admissions and discharges and shorter duration and less severe illness for the Omicron variant compared to Delta allowed authorities to ease the brakes.

Capacity restrictions will remain in place for sporting events, while a double mask is mandatory in supermarkets and transport.

Greece reported 19,712 new cases on Thursday. Infections have declined since a record high of around 50,000 in early January. Read more

A total of 23,083 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported since February 2020 and 1,867,935 cases out of a population of 11 million.

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Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Lefteris Papadimas; edited by Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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