ATHENS (Reuters) – After standing empty for two months, Greece’s ancient sites, including the Acropolis hill towering over Athens, will reopen to visitors on May 18, authorities said on Thursday.
The ancient monuments were closed along with museums in mid-March in Greece’s lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Restrictions have gradually been eased this week.
Museums will open again in mid-June while open-air performances will resume in mid-July, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said. Distance and safety rules will apply.
The many historical sites are one of the mainstays of Greece’s vital tourism sector and efforts will now kick in to encourage visitors after travel restrictions and widespread closures caused a collapse in bookings.
Hundreds of musicians, actors and art workers rallied outside parliament to demand more support for their sector.
“We are here,” read a message drawn in chalk on the street. Protesters waved a giant theatre puppet. In the northern city of Thessaloniki, musicians performed tied up in a red and white cordon tape.
Many artists have performed live online for those staying home since Greece reported its first case of the new coronavirus in February.
“We stayed home but we didn’t stay silent,” artists’ unions said in a statement.
Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas and Renee Maltezou; Editing by Kevin Liffey