Greek authorities announced Wednesday that the retail sector will be reopened as of April 5 as the country moved to loosen coronavirus restrictions despite a rise in infections.

During a televised briefing on the course of the pandemic, Deputy Civil Protection Minister for Crisis Management Nikos Hardalias announced the new lighter COVID-19 measures, acknowledging that lockdown fatigue has been observed in people.

Under certain restrictions, retail stores will reopen with the “click away” and “click in shop” methods that were previously used, which involves picking up online orders with the addition of being able to visit stores and try on clothes and shoes in person only by appointment and for up to three hours, he said.

Shopping centers will remain shut.

In addition, people either in groups of three or families will be allowed to travel between municipalities for leisure or exercise as of April 3 and only on weekends, while observing health measures would always be a precondition.

Hardalias said these measures were proposed by the Health Ministry’s experts committee after realizing the need to spend more time outdoors during the spring.

The minister gave no account on whether schools will also reopen next week.

“Let us leave our homes, observing measures, and let us let steam off but avoiding crowds in homes and at small spaces, which we know well only help to spread infections,” he said.

The loosening of the restrictions comes a day after Greece recorded its highest daily number of infections since the start of the pandemic with 4,340 cases. On Wednesday, 3,616 new cases were recorded.

The overall number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 263,689, according to health authorities.

Also, 76 fatalities were recorded — the highest so far in 2021, bringing the total to 8,093, while intubations fell slightly from 741 to 739.

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