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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.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Students across U.S. walkout of classes to demand safer COVID protocols

Public school students protest outside of the Chicago Public Schools headquarters after walking out of their classrooms on Jan. 14 in Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Students in Boston and Chicago walked out of classes on Friday in protest, demanding a return to remote learning as the Omicron variant surges across the country.

Driving the news: The walkouts come two days after 340,000 Chicago students returned to the classroom after a five-day work stoppage due to the Chicago Teachers Union asking for tougher COVID-19 restrictions.

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America
  3. Politics: Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Schumer pushes for doomed filibuster changes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addresses reporters Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Democratic caucus Tuesday night he plans to propose instituting a one-time "talking" filibuster requirement, and bypassing the 60-vote threshold for major legislation, to pass the party's election reforms package via simple majority.

Why it matters: While Schumer acknowledged both votes are expected to fail — and some vulnerable Democrats up for re-election feel it will put them in a tough spot — he argued it's worth putting members on the record for historic legislation.