Greece’s General Secretariat for Telecommunications and Posts has set up a 5-digit hotline for citizens to text if they want to obtain permission to leave their homes while the new restrictions are in place for the next 3 weeks.
People must text their name, address and 1 of only 6 reasons to the 13033 number if they intend to do any of these 6 government permissible activities:
- Visit to a pharmacy or visit to a doctor if necessary
- Visit to a supermarket or stores for essential supplies
- Visit to a bank if e-banking transactions are not possible
- Visit to people needing assistance or escorting children to and from school
- Attending a funeral, as per the conditions provided by the law, or visiting children in case of divorced parents
- Physical exercise outdoors or up to two persons taking their pet for a walk while always observing a 1.5-metre distance.
If an individual is unable to ask for permission through a SMS text, they will be required to carry a document provided by their employer detailing their shift schedule or another type of government issued document for trips not related to work. On top of that, citizens must carry a valid identification card or document with them.
During Greece’s first nationwide lockdown in the spring, the same text for permission measure was put into place under which residents sent a total of 110 million messages to the hotline in 42 days of de facto house arrest. The number served 1,818 messages per minute, while during the highest traffic it processed 7,500 messages per minute, according to government numbers.
The government of Greece will roll out its latest lockdown on Friday night, starting with a nationwide curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m the next day in an attempt to keep people inside their homes for a three week span.
Like measures taken in other European countries, retail stores will close with the exception of supermarkets while most schools will remain open.
On Thursday, Greece recorded 2,751 cases and 43 deaths from COVID-19.