I was prepared to experience a number of differences in how the pandemic situation was handled in Canada versus Greece. Amusingly, my friends who were already hear warned me that it was very different from usual. Dialogues went something like this:
"You have to wear a mask when you go into a building!"
"Yes, we have to do that in Canada, totally used to it"
"People don't always kiss hello!"
"People basically don't come anywhere near each other in Canada."
"Bars close at midnight!"
"I haven't been to a bar in six months."
So ultimately, though I know for the Greek people this is like living in the twilight zone, being here on Santorini is SO close to feeling normal. People often greet each other in a physical way, though it's often a fist pump or elbow touch. I nearly fell over when my boyfriend's employee greeted me with the usual cheek kisses! On the other side, one of my best female friends here wouldn't hug me for the first 10 days.
Mask wearing is loose at best. Canada is, on the whole, pretty compliant with the whole thing, and many people even wear masks outside in addition to the required indoor usage. Here, yes, waiters have them on when they approach your table, but most of the time they are under their chins. Of course, pretty much all restaurants are outdoor, so I don't feel particularly worried. People only sort of use them when they go into pharmacies or post offices, though I LOVE seeing the old Greek men carefully put their mask on before they enter.
Tables are supposed to be appopriately spaced, and in Canada they are really careful with that. In Greece, the distance allowed is closer, and not all the restaurants have bothered. This drives my boyfriend nuts, since he has been careful, removed tables, and he's ticked that other restaurants are still packing the tables together with no repercussions, though supposedly there are fines for not following the rules.
And indeed, bars close at 12am, with last call at 11:30pm. I'm honestly unsure what the rules are in Canada, having not been to a bar there during the last 6 months. There are also no bar stools, or sitting or standing at the bar, you have to be at a table. That is possibly the strangest thing for me here, since I historically rarely sit at a table.
Now, to be fair, Greece locked down early, and locked down HARD when they did. You basically couldn't leave your house except for eight reasons, and had to send an SMS to a number to report when you did. It was really strict. We did not have that level of restriction in Canada at all. So I understand their desire to have a bit more normalcy, as best they can.
The main difference is the busy-ness. It is so quiet. Walking around a dead Oia, a nearly lifeless Thira—the famous tourist towns of Santorini—is so strange. There are usually throngs of tourists in these locations, many spit off cruise ships to enjoy the island for a brief few hours. This discreapancy as compared to other years is both delightful from the standpoint of being here as a visitor/non working semi-resident, and heartbreaking to know that there has been almost no tourist season, and so many businesses won't make it, and winter will be a huge struggle for many Greeks.
So while I am enjoying the closer to "normal" feeling, it's sad to know that it's not normal for them, in truly difficult ways.
P.S. Come to Greece in 2021—virus permitting, of course—and help the economy of these fabulous, hard working people.