The government found a very smart way of presenting what is a type of lockdown for the unvaccinated. From December 15, only people over the age of 12, with at least one dose of the vaccine will be able to enter cinemas, theatres, stadiums, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and venue halls. They have not been barred from shops and malls, presumably because shopping is a human right during Christmas and they can still engage in social activity at cafes, as long as the café does not also offer food.
These measures are not as drastic as some other countries in Europe are set to impose, but there is still plenty of time for the government to make them even stricter. In fact health Michalis Hadjipantelas warned on Tuesday that if more people were not vaccinated and if the measures were not complied with, tougher restrictions would be imposed. This was what happened last year during the Christmas period – as Christmas approached much tougher restrictions were imposed that kept everyone at home.
Barring the unvaccinated from eateries and entertainment venues for the entire festive season is designed to increase the vaccine take-up. Hadjipantelas was quite frank about this on Tuesday, when he said, “the measures to be announced on Wednesday will help boost vaccinations.” It is a coercive tactic, primarily targeting the young, a much smaller percentage of whom have been vaccinated, but also adults who may have been considering giving the booster shot a miss. Under the new rules, full vaccination becomes invalid after seven months and someone who has not had the booster shot would be considered unvaccinated.
Most adults will comply to preserve their freedom of movement, but the way children are now being targeted will almost certainly provoke a justified reaction from parents. The mandatory mask at schools for children of six and over they can live with perhaps.
We suspect, however, that the government is simply waiting for the European Medicines Agency to greenlight the vaccination of children between five and 12 on Thursday so that parents are forced to have their youngest offspring jabbed.
Hadjipantelas’ claim that the measures were aimed at saving Christmas and allowing society to operate as smoothly as possible has hollow ring to it with so many restrictions on the young who enjoy the Christmas the most, and the government poised to bring in more.