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Southern Europe has begun emerging from the lockdown after successfully controlling the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak, however, the ease comes with new rules for tourists and locals looking to return to public places. Newly reopened beaches in Greece are now being monitored by drones. By Manya Saini
The message, “We keep our distance, we respect public health” is being broadcasted to beachgoers in Greece’s Athenian Riviera through a drone piloted by the city’s town hall employees. The country has emerged from a strict lockdown and is now looking for people to maintain 10-metre distance from one another in heavily-crowded places like beaches.
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Greece is currently in the middle of its first heatwave of the season and with the restrictions being eased, thousands of people across the country flocked to the coast to swim, lounge, and sunbathe. According to reports, the health officials are considering the opening of 515 beaches to be the first test of tourism in the ‘new normal’. Currently, 40 people are allowed per 1,000 sq metres at a particular time.
Restaurants and beach clubs were also reopened in the country but without any music, alcohol, or sports to discourage group social interaction. Disinfection is another key component of the plan to revive tourism as all canopies, sunbeams, and umbrella poles are being thoroughly sanitised at regular intervals.
Alimos, a popular beach to the south of Athens, on the opening, witnessed a large queue of people looking to find a spot in the sunshine after a long home-bound lockdown. Drones continue to buzz over the loungers ensuring the loudspeakers keep tabs and urge people to keep safe distancing from each other.
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Greece has had lower rates of transmission and deaths due to the Coronavirus pandemic in comparison to other European countries. A fifth of the Greek workforce, approximately over a million people, are employed in the tourism industry. It has so far reported 2,800 infections with 160 people succumbing to the virus. The nation had embarked on a slow and phased opening of public life from May 4 onwards.
The revival of safe and sustainable tourism has been deemed critical to the economic upturn of the continent, in particular, the Southern European countries.