Greece is cracking down on New Year's celebrations at venues across the country as part of a new wave of restrictions to fight against rising COVID-19 cases.
Bars, nightclubs, and restaurants will be required to close at midnight, with the exception of New Year's Eve, when they will be allowed to remain open until 2 a.m., Reuters reported. Under these restrictions, standing customers and music will not be allowed.
"These measures, if they are applied in our entirety, will allow us from mid-January to go back to our normal lives," Health Minister Thanos Plevris said during a news conference on Wednesday.
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Greece announced last week that several Christmas events would be canceled and reinstituted a mask mandate for outdoor and public places.
Plevris said that "due to the large amount of Christmas activity and crowded conditions that it creates," the mask mandate was "justified."
Initially, the restrictions had been set to take effect on Jan. 3, 2022, but they will now be enforced starting Thursday.
Greece has implemented other harsh measures over the course of the pandemic, including in November, when Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said elderly citizens who refused to get vaccinated would be subject to a $100 monthly fee.
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Greece reported a daily record of 21,732 new coronavirus-related cases on Tuesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University and Medicine coronavirus tracker. Altogether, the country has had 1,105,885 COVID-19 cases and 20,557 related deaths.
In the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci encouraged the public on Monday that they should consider canceling New Year's Eve plans due to the increasing threat of the omicron variant, which has now overtaken the delta variant as the dominant strain of COVID-19.