Greece’s Mykonos bans music, imposes curfew amid rise in COVID-19 cases

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Greece banned music in restaurants and bars and imposed a nighttime curfew on its popular holiday island of Mykonos on Saturday after a rise in new coronavirus infections there.

Known as the party island of the super-rich, Mykonos is one of Greece’s most popular destinations, attracting more than a million visitors each summer, among them Hollywood stars, models and world-famous athletes.

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Following a “worrying” local outbreak, the Civil Protection Ministry said it was banning music on the island around the clock, including in shops, cafes and beach bars. It also said it would restrict movement between 1 a.m to 6 a.m except for those going to and from work or to hospital.

Greece depends on tourism for a fifth of its economy and desperately needs a strong season this year following a disastrous 2020 when visitor numbers and revenues collapsed.

The number of infections has been rising in Greece in recent weeks, forcing the government to mandate the vaccination of healthcare workers and nursing home staff, and to introduce new restrictions across the country, including allowing only vaccinated customers indoors at restaurants and clubs.

Mykonos’s Mayor Konstantinos Koukas said imposing measures at the heart of the tourism season was “unfair” and “misguided.”

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

The government banned music in restaurants and bars across the country in May to avoid people having to get close to one another to be heard, increasing the chances of transmitting the virus. It lifted that measure when infections dropped.

“We call on the residents, visitors and professionals on our beautiful island to strictly follow the measures... so that we can quickly control and contain the spreading of the virus and Mykonos can return to normality,” the ministry said.

The restrictions on Mykonos will be in place until July 26.

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