ATHENS

Greece on Monday entered its third phase of returning to normality with the opening of middle and high school classes as well as shopping malls, according to the Health Ministry and other agencies.

Mall customers will be required to keep social distancing as well as wear masks to help prevent a new wave of the virus.

Free travel between regions on the mainland and to the island of Crete will also restart, with Aegean Air announcing that it will gradually enhance its connectivity in domestic flights with flights to Heraklion, Chania, Thessaloniki, and Alexandroupolis all resuming.

Sea travel will also resume with ferry passengers limited to 50 pct normal capacity.

Archaeological sites are also reopening with necessary safety measures of keeping a distance of 1.5 meters, setting a maximum number of visitors per archeological site, marking safe routes, and separate entry and exit paths.

The first phase towards normalization announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis began on May 4.

With the outbreak, Greece was one of the first European countries to order the closure of all schools, bars, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, gyms, malls, movie theaters, retail stores, museums, archaeological sites, and hotels, and got much praise for these measures.

The total number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the country so far stood at 2,834, the ministry announced on Sunday.

Fifteen new cases were also diagnosed in Greece over the last 24 hours, with the total number of Covid-19 deaths so far at 163, including one more death over the past day.

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