Let the music play: Seven ND MPs ask government to revoke music ban at restaurants, bars, cafes

Seven ruling New Democracy MPs have sent a letter to Deputy Minister Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias challenging the government's decision to ban music at restaurants, cafes, and bars which re-opened today after being shut down for six months, and asking it to revoke the measure and postpone the 22:45 curfew until midnight.

"As of 3 May, for all restaurants and bars the use of exclusively outdoor spaces will be allowed under the conditions that have been set and with only seated customers. Caution. For the duration of the day and their operation music will not be permitted at these establishments," Hardalias said at a regular, televised health ministry news conference on 28 April.

Athanasios Exadaktylos, the president of the Panhellenic Medical Association and a member of the National Committee on COVID-19, later said, "Music requires a higher voice volume and leads people to come closer in order to be heard and that facilitates transmission. "

The measure drew a backlash from entrepreneurs in the restaurant industry and became the butt of jokes in the Greek social media.

Lefteris Lazarou, a famed chef who owns one of the very popular restaurants in Athens suggested that the decision is bizarre, "Have you ever heard anyone yelling in a restaurant?"

He also criticised the decision to shut restaurants [cafes and bars] at 22:45 and impose a curfew at 23:00, noting that it literally impossible for customers to get home in just a quarter of an hour.

In their letter, the New Democracy MPs cited the consternation of restaurant, bar, and café owners

"Professional in the restaurant sector do not hide their disappointment about limitations imposed regarding music and the curfew, that require a 22:45 closing time....

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