ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece will require customers at indoor restaurants, bars and cafes to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative within the last three days, the government announced on Tuesday to combat an infection surge.
Under the new regulations, which will remain in force until August, all customers at indoor bars and restaurants will have to be seated. Those dining outdoors will not require proof of vaccination or a test.
“It is crucial not to give the impression that we are losing control of the pandemic so that our tourism industry can go on and operate normally,” Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis told a news conference.
“The course of Greece’s economy will hinge on how well we comply with the measures and control the pandemic.”
A government-launched application, COVID FREE GR, which can scan European digital vaccination certificates or the results of PCR or rapid tests, will be available to establishments to ensure compliance.
Public and private sector employers will have the right to ask employees whether they have been vaccinated.
Greece is betting on a revival of its tourism sector this summer, but is worried about a surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. About 41% of Greeks are fully vaccinated so far, while tourists need to show they have been vaccinated or present a negative PCR test to enter the country.
Greece reported 2,065 new COVID-19 infections and 10 deaths on Monday, bringing the total number of infections since the first case was detected in February last year to 440,872 and the death toll to 12,802.
The daily count may hit 3,000 on Tuesday, officials said.
Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias said nursing home staff will have until Aug 16 to obtain at least a first shot, a mandatory measure the prime minister announced on Monday.
The same will be required of medical and nursing staff at all hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres by Sept 1. Those who refuse to comply will not be able to work and will not be paid. Clinics found violating the measure will face a 50,000 euro fine.
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos)