Greece will close all its museums and archaeological sites, including the entire Acropolis that looms over Athens, until the end of the month due to the impact of the coronavirus, its culture ministry said on Friday.
Greece reported 190 confirmed cases and one fatality on Friday, with the culture ministry forced to make the difficult decision to cancel public gatherings and shut down schools, theatres, cinemas and gyms.
With the Acropolis in Athens being among the most visited tourist locations in the world, the closure of the ancient ruins will deal a large blow to Greece’s tourism. Attracting more than 33 million visitors last year, Greece’s established travel restrictions will see Greece have one of its worst tourism records in the past 20 years.
Tourist industry officials have said bookings for holiday resorts have declined sharply and occupancy rates in Athens have nosedived to about 10% from 60% and 70% in the same period last year.
Following the announcement, Greece also declared it will shut down shopping malls, cafes and bars.
“We are extending preventive measures to avoid a larger spread of the coronavirus,” said Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias.
Sotiris Tsiodras, a health ministry representative, said supermarkets and pharmacy stores would remain open.
Separately, the Hellenic Olympic Committee on Friday decided to suspend the remainder of the Olympic Torch relay through the country to avoid attracting crowds because of the coronavirus.
Sourced by: Reuters