The health ministry on Monday night amended a directive that made the use of a protective mask mandatory by the general population by raising the minimum age from six to 12.
The new regulation also applies to schools, among other places.
“Therefore, following the revision of the directive, the use of a protective mask by the general population is mandatory starting at the age of 12 and above, in indoor areas where there is a large gathering of people,” a ministry statement said.
For children between six and 12, the ministry still recommends the use of a mask on a voluntary basis in indoor areas with a lot of people.
The announcement on Monday night will have come as a relief to primary school teachers and the Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou who spent much of Monday in meetings with various school representatives who were complaining about the difficulties involved in ensuring young children wore masks.
On Friday the education ministry had said all children over the age of six had to wear a mask in school.
He also said two dedicated telephone lines will be operational at the ministry, one for teachers, who need guidance on dealing with the protocols, and one for parents, where they can receive information about the measures.
He also said the state is looking into providing single desks for students or two larger desks joined together for three students, so as to cover the spacing requirements set out by the World Health Organisation, which states there should be a metre of space between each student.
The coronavirus measures to be followed at public schools will also be followed at private schools, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said on Monday.
“The private schools will follow the measures necessary for the safety of the children, the teachers, and all the workers in the education sector,” Prodromou said after a meeting with the parents’ association of private schools.