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ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece will allow people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus inside restaurants without masks, the government said on Tuesday, as part of measures to boost inoculation rates.
The country has been easing restrictions as COVID-19 infections fall, but concerns are rising over the more contagious Delta variant. Face masks have been mandatory in all indoor public spaces.
"The first target is to facilitate the vaccination project. To bring as many people as possible (to vaccination centres)," state minister George Gerapetritis told reporters.
From July 15, vaccinated spectators will be allowed at sports venues for the first time but they will have to wear masks. Mask wearing will still be required in theatres and cinemas.
More than 30.2% of Greece's eligible population have been fully vaccinated so far and 43.1% have had at least one dose. The government aims to get to a 70% rate by the autumn.
People who are not fully vaccinated can still enter restaurants, theatres and cinemas but will need to show a negative rapid test, authorities said.
Restaurant and cafe owners can decide to accept only fully vaccinated customers using 85% of their space capacity or accept also unvaccinated clients using only 50% of their capacity, Gerapetritis added.
Earlier this week, the government said it would offer young people a 150 euro ($178.49) cash card and a free month of phone data to get vaccinated.
(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Nick Macfie)