Dec 29, 2021 - World

Music banned at New Year's venues in Greece amid COVID surge

People wears masks as Greece increase restrictions against coronavirus (Covid-19) in Athens, Greece on December 27, 2021

People mostly masked up in Athens on Dec. 27. Photo: Ayhan Mehmet/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New Year's celebrations in Greece will look a little different this year amid surging COVID-19 cases, largely driven by the Omicron variant.

Driving the news: Standing customers and music will be banned at bars, nightclubs and restaurants, which will close at 2am on Jan. 1, Greece's health minister said Wednesday, Reuters reports.

  • All public New Year's celebrations planned by municipalities have also been canceled, including the annual fireworks show over the Acropolis in Athens, CNN reports.
  • Under the new restrictions, entertainment venues will be required to close at midnight beginning on Thursday, with the exception of New Year's.

The big picture: The new restrictions come after Greece tallied a new daily record of 21,657 cases on Tuesday, more than double compared to the previous day, per Reuters.

  • The additional COVID-19 restrictions were originally slated to go into effect on Jan. 3, but will now go into effect on Thursday due to the rapidly rising case numbers, AP reports.
  • "These measures, if they are applied in our entirety, will allow us from mid-January to go back to our normal lives," Health Minister Thanos Plevris said during a news conference.
  • Health officials last week also announced mandatory mask-wearing in public spaces.
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