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Greek government extends mandatory face-mask use to more venues from Wednesday

"We are going to have to learn to live with the use of masks," Nikos Hardalias said, during the weekly briefing on the progress of the pandemic at the deputy ministry

The government is extending the number of venues where the use of face masks is mandatory, starting on Wednesday, in response to the latest figures on the spread of Covid-19, Deputy Civil Protection and Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias announced in a press conference on Tuesday.

"We are going to have to learn to live with the use of masks," the minister said, during the weekly briefing on the progress of the pandemic at the deputy ministry.

In addition to those areas where face masks were already obligatory, from Wednesday people will also be required to wear a face mask when entering shops providing goods and services of all kinds, as well as public utility companies, banks, doctors' surgeries, municipality buildings, food retailers (bakeries, butchers, greengrocers etc), hair salons and beauty parlours.

Other areas where the use of face masks is already mandatory include: all public transport, taxis, supermarkets, hospitals, health centres and diagnostic centres, lifts, ships and airplanes and for staff serving customers at restaurants, cafes and bars.

The minister also made a strong recommendation that face masks be worn in all indoor areas where people are crowded together and it is difficult to observe the necessary social distancing rules, adding that the fine for not wearing a mask in areas where this is required is 150 euros.

The increase in domestic cases should not cause either panic nor complacency," Hardalias added, pointing out that the virus "is still here" and that the rules for health and hygiene must be strictly followed, while he advised people to avoid large gatherings and crowds.

Hardalias reported that the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases detected in Greece until July 26 was 4,193 and the active cases currently number 429. Since Greece reopened for tourism on July 1, a total of 1,294,798 people had entered the country by July 26, while 171,138 people were tested for Covid-19, with 344 testing positive. Of the imported cases, the Balkan countries accounted for the highest number of cases. The goal, the minister concluded, was for Greece to remain a safe country for both visitors and local residents.

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