Featured Image
COVID-19 injectionSaratstock/Shutterstock

ATHENS, Greece, July 20, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Patrons who haven’t received coronavirus vaccines are now barred from indoor restaurants, bars, cafes, and movie theaters in Greece according to new restrictions that took effect in the country Friday. 

According to Reuters, as of Friday “[c]ustomers at indoor restaurants, bars and cafes have to prove they have been vaccinated,” a move which marks “the latest in a series of curbs aimed at saving the summer tourist season and includes foreign tourists.” The restrictions do not apply to outdoor venues. 

The Associated Press noted that access to movie theaters in Greece is likewise restricted, and clarified that diners and movie-goers can alternatively show proof that they have “recently recovered” from COVID-19 if they have not gotten the injection. 

According to protocols defined by the Greek government for travelers, a certificate of recovery from SARS-CoV-2 issued 30 days after a positive COVID-19 test is acceptable proof for up to 180 days after issuance. An authorized PCR test result indicating the individual tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 30 to 180 days may also be considered acceptable proof of recent recovery. 

Meanwhile, Reuters reported the Greek government has launched a national digital vaccine passport app for businesses called COVID FREE GR, which can scan European vaccine passports to check the vaccination status of customers and turn away those who have not gotten the jab.  

To date roughly 41 percent of Greeks 15 years old and older are “fully vaccinated.” 

But not all Greeks are in favor of the government’s push to incentivize vaccination by restricting the freedoms of unvaccinated individuals. 

On Wednesday more than 5,000 Greeks gathered in Athens to protest the restrictions and mandates, including the government’s recent move to extend vaccination to minors as young as 15. Some protestors called for Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to resign. 

Protestors also took to the streets in Thessaloniki, Patra, and Crete. According to Neos Kosmos, a national Greek community newspaper headquartered in Australia, protestors waved Greek flags, held wooden crosses, and sang “Christos Anestis” (“Christ has Risen”), an Easter hymn. 

Cardiologist Faidon Vovolis, who leads the Greek “Free Again” movement which opposes mandated face masks and the experimental COVID-19 shots, told Reuters “Every person has the right to choose” whether to receive optional medical interventions. “We're choosing that the government does not choose for us.”  

On Saturday, the Greek government took a swipe at its own tourist industry by issuing a ban on music in restaurants and bars and enacting a nighttime curfew on the island of Mykonos, a popular tourist destination.  

Mykonos's Mayor Konstantinos Koukas criticized the measures, which he called “unfair” and “misguided.” 

“Mykonos cannot be the only island where music won't be heard,” Koukas wrote on Facebook, according to Reuters. “The only thing this will achieve is that visitors will go to another island.” 

News of the Greek government’s crackdown on unvaccinated residents and tourists, and its imposition of vaccine passports upon citizens seeking to attend dining and entertainment venues, comes amid similar announcements in France and the U.K. 

On July 12, the same day Greece announced it was mandating COVID-19 shots for healthcare professionals and nursing home employees, French president Emmanuel Macron announced a similar mandate which is set to take effect in France in September.  

Macron said while COVID-19 injections were not mandatory for all citizens yet, the requirement for healthcare professionals was only a “first stage.” 

“We must move towards the vaccination of all the French, because it is the only pathway to the return to normal life, Macron claimed. “As a first stage, it will be mandatory for people in the health professions, care-givers or not.” 

“For the millions of you who have not yet been vaccinated, depending on the evolution of the situation we will have to raise the question of compulsory vaccination for all French people.” Macron said. 

France is also set to begin requiring use of a “sanitary pass,” that is, a vaccine passport, for a host of public venues including amusement parks, shows, concerts, and festivals, but extending to smaller spaces as well.  

“Starting in the beginning of August, the sanitary pass will apply to cafés, restaurants, hospitals, rest homes for the elderly and long-distance transportation: airplanes, trains and long-distance buses,” Macron said. 

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the sanitary pass requirement will extend to restaurant and cafe terraces, unlike the Greek mandate which permits unvaccinated diners to occupy outdoor spaces without providing proof of vaccination.  

French citizens opposed to what they called a “sanitary dictatorship” took to the streets to protest Macron’s recent announcements. Official estimates, which are likely under-representative, suggested at least 20,000 people participated in the protests in Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Bayonne, Avignon, Nantes, and other cities. 

The day after the announcements from France and Greece, the UK also announced it would  force healthcare and “social care” workers in the UK to take one of the experimental COVID-19 injections or lose their jobs.  

The rule is set to take effect in October, with unvaccinated staff members given 16 weeks to receive a full round of the shots. If they fail to do so, they will not be permitted to continue working. 

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said employees who refuse “may be asked to find alternative employment that does not involve working in a care home.”  

On Monday, hours after nightclubs were permitted to reopen in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that COVID-19 vaccine passports would be mandatory for anyone entering nightclubs or other crowded events. The rule is set to take effect in September, with those who are not “fully vaccinated” barred from entering crowded venues.  

The U.K. has launched its own coronavirus vaccine passport app, NHS COVID Pass, through its National Health Service. Nightclub patrons will have to use the app or another form of certificate to provide proof of vaccination prior to entry. 

“There are a number of reasons to be concerned about vaccine immunity passports, both medical and the risk they pose to our rights and freedoms,” said Ted Kuntz, president of Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC), a not-for-profit society founded by families who have suffered from vaccine reactions or injuries.  

Kuntz told LifeSite in March “there is no medical justification for implementing ‘vaccine immunity passports.’ To do so fails to recognize the limitations of vaccine induced immunity, and the COVID vaccines in particular.” 

Kuntz said vaccine passports are a “violation of our rights and freedoms.” 

“The unstated intention of such a document would be used to restrict access to travel and services of those individuals not partaking in this medical experiment. Such arbitrary restrictions would be a clear violation of our inherent freedoms,” Kuntz said. 

It is unclear what effect vaccine mandates for public venues will have on the economic outlook of the nations which have imposed them, as citizens who choose not to take the experimental shots will stop patronizing venues which require proof of vaccination. 

According to Reuters, amid its 2020 lockdowns Greece's already-challenged economy fell by 8.2 percent last year, while the Wall Street Journal reported that the UK’s economy was in its deepest slump in 300 years in the wake of last year’s restrictions. In France, the national debt skyrocketed last year, rising to 115.7 percent of GDP at the end of 2020, compared with 97.6 percent in 2019. 

LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.