Greeks Send Over One Million SMS Daily for Permission to Leave Home

This article was originally published on Greekreporter.com on March 27th, 2020.

The daily number of requests submitted via SMS by citizens to the Civil Protection Ministry for permission to leave home has ranged between 1.3 million and 1.8 million in the four days since the system was put in effect on March 23.

The SMS must be sent to the phone number 13033 with one’s name and address, the reason for going out and the time-frame for when the person will be leaving and returning home.

There are six approved reasons for leaving one’s home:

  • Going to the pharmacy or visiting a medical doctor, if that this is recommended after consultation.
  • Going to stores which supply necessary goods (super markets, mini markets etc), which cannot ship or deliver their goods.
  • Going to the bank, when electronic transactions are not possible.
  • Going to help people in need.
  • Going to a ceremony (e.g., funeral, marriage, baptism) under the conditions provided by law; or movement of divorced or legally separated parents in the context of parental responsibility, custody, or visiting rights in accordance with the applicable provisions.
  • Physical exercise in an open space or for a pet’s needs; individually or up to 2 people. In the latter case, a minimum distance of 1.5 meters must be kept between people at all times.

One must await a return text message response before leaving home and show police the SMS granting permission as well as a state-issued ID upon request.

Apart from sending an SMS, a permit can also be printed or handwritten. Those who violate the restriction will be slapped with a 150-euro fine.

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