Music banned at New Year’s venues in Greece due to COVID-19 concerns

On Wednesday, a Greek health minister announced that music will not be allowed at commercial venues during New Year’s celebrations.

The country is currently facing a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases as the omicron variant is spreading rapidly across the globe. 

The same restrictions were already scheduled to take effect on January 3, but instead they will be implemented ahead of the New Year’s festivities. Other measures that have been implemented to slow the spread of infections include requiring high protection masks in supermarkets and on public transportation.

Work from home orders for government employees have also been instituted as well as capacity limits at sporting events. All entertainment venues have a curfew at midnight on Thursday, meaning they will have to close by that time, but they will be permitted to stay open until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. 

The policy was instituted after the country saw nearly 22,000 new infections on Tuesday, which is more than double the previous day’s numbers. Those numbers had already been record-setting, only to be topped by new cases on Tuesday. “Omicron is now the dominant variant in terms of new infections,” said Health Minister Thanos Plevris on Wednesday. 

New Year’s Eve and Day precautions come right in line with the country’s previously imposed restrictions on Christmas. Those measures included banning public Christmas celebrations this year.

According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 cases around the globe had increased by 11 percent last week in comparison to the week prior. The agency did say that the delta variant is still the dominant strain of COVID-19 in some parts of the world, but it added that “consistent evidence” showed that “the overall risk related to the new variant … omicron remains very high.” 




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