Tourists troop to sunbathe, as beaches reopen in Greece

Sunbathers flock to beaches in Greece, France, and Italy as the nations make the most of relaxed lockdown measures.

Photos emerging has shown individuals sunbathing at beaches in Greece, France and Italy for the first weekend since lockdown restrictions were eased across Europe.

Having been grounded at home for weeks because of the lockdown, people were seen enjoying the sun’s rays and cooling off in the sea while trying to comply with social distancing regulations.

In Greece, more than 500 beaches reopened, as the country sought to walk the fine line between protecting people from Covid-19 while reviving the tourism sector that many depend on for their livelihoods.

Greece has reported a fraction of the COVID-19 cases of neighbouring countries – more than 2,800 infections with 160 deaths. From May 4, it began a phased-in easing of the lockdown that had been in place since mid-March.

The country of 11 million people is one of the most dependent in Europe on tourism, which generates about a fifth of its economic output.

Following the reopening of Greek beaches, people will be permitted to attend Church Mass from May 17, while archaeological sites, including the Acropolis, will reopen for visitors on May 18. From Monday, travel across mainland Greece and to Crete will be allowed, and from May 25 to the islands.

“This is a crucial turning point in our efforts and we must succeed,” said Nikos Hardalias, Greece’s civil protection minister.

“The message is that Greece is a very safe and hospitable country. We invite them and are waiting for them to come, as long as they follow the rules,” Alimos Mayor Andreas Kondylis said.

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