Last week, the government of Greece announced that as COVID-19 cases rise in the country, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will be required to enter churches.
Unvaccinated people will also be barred from indoor venues such as restaurants, cinemas, museums, and gyms.
Some Greek church leaders appear to be supportive of the measure, as The Christian Post reported.
“[This is] to safeguard ourselves, and the people,” Piraeus priest Father Christos was quoted as saying by Reuters. “It might be a bit difficult, but we will persist. We are obliged to comply with everything.”
Others, however, have expressed concern that churches are not equipped with the resources to screen worshippers for COVID-19 and proof of vaccination.
“[Workers or volunteer staff] have neither capabilities, guard authority, nor public [e.g. police] powers,” a statement from the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece read, according to a Greek newspaper.
Reuters visited four churches on Sunday, when the rule went into effect, and found that only one had a volunteer checking vaccine and COVID-19 status.
These drastic measures come as many are blaming the unvaccinated for recent upticks in the virus.
While the average vaccination rate for other European Union countries is 66%, Greece lags behind at just 62%.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has declared it is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
“Greece is mourning unnecessary losses because it simply does not have the vaccination rates of other EU countries,” he said, according to Politico.
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