European countries hope that the holiday season this year will take place sooner or later. By what rules it will take place, it largely depends on how successful the experience of Greece will turn out - the first country in Europe whose authorities last weekend opened access to organized beaches. The Guardian describes the situation.
The summer heat was established in the country, and thousands of Greeks went on a weekend to the Athenian Riviera to swim, sunbathe and forget about the hardships of quarantine. This became possible after the mayors of resort towns last week called on the government to open organized paid beaches along the coast of Attica, and received agreement.
As for the whole of Southern Europe, the summer holiday season is of great economic importance for Greece: 20% of the local labor force works in the tourism sector. Taking into account this, as well as the fact that the pandemic was relatively easy in the country: infection and mortality were among the lowest in Europe (data on Monday - 2834 and 163 cases respectively), the authorities agreed that 515 beaches should resume their activity - of course, subject to strict rules.
On Saturday at 8am, the beaches opened. Each has a limit: no more than 40 people per 1000 square meters. Umbrellas are installed at a distance of 4 meters from each other. Chaise lounges are chained to umbrellas in some places so that they cannot be moved. When people take turns, sunbeds disinfect. Police and municipal employees patrol the beaches, observing the observance of the distance and, in case of violation, warning people about the possibility of fines, the size of which is about 1100 dollars.
Drones also fly over the beaches, which, detecting crowds of people, transmit the message: "Keep a distance, respect each other's health." Everything that could stimulate social interaction, from points of sale of alcohol to water attractions, is closed. Cafes should not include music, all recreational activities on the beaches are prohibited.
Today, archaeological sites have returned to work: more than 200 objects, including the Acropolis, have been opened for visitors. All of them will work from 8 am to 8 pm in compliance with security measures. Among these measures is a limited number of visitors at each object and maintaining a social distance of 1.5 meters. Wearing masks is recommended, but not necessary (they are mandatory only in public transport). From June 1, open-air cinemas will open in Greece, museums will open on June 15, and art events will resume on July 15.
Today, shopping centers, zoos, sports facilities have also opened, ferry services between the mainland and Crete have resumed. So far, Greece is forced to rely on domestic tourism. However, if everything goes smoothly, the authorities intend to weaken border control from July 1: this year foreign tourists are needed more than ever.
The season in the neighboring countries also depends on how successful the experience of the Greeks is: the views of the whole Mediterranean are now turned to Greece.
In the photo: last Saturday: people enjoy the sea and the sun on Anavisos beach near Athens. Photo: MilošBičanski / GettyImages