Greeks were finally allowed to get their hair cut, buy books and flowers, and even venture back onto beaches on Monday, as part of a gradual easing of lockdown restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“Relaxing the lockdown is a positive step, it will give our morale a boost,” Efi Karanikolaou, a customer at a reopened hair salon, told Reuters.
“I had people coming in today to buy just a pack of gum. I guess they were just looking for a reason to get out of the house to enjoy this freedom,” added Maria, a store owner in Greece.
Despite these positive steps, police remained out in force on buses, in metro stations and shops to make sure people were wearing protective masks and respecting social distancing rules.
On Monday, the Greek government made the use of masks mandatory or ‘strongly recommended’ in enclosed spaces such as hospitals, supermarkets and grocery stores, retail and other shops, public transport, and taxis.
Travellers not wearing face masks on trains were asked to disembark, while half of the seats in buses and trains were out of bounds.
For now, as Greece makes its transition from the “stay home” containment policy to the “stay safe” campaign, it looks like this could be the “new normal” for thousands of people across Greece.