The purpose of this article is to take into consideration the impact of unprecedented restrictions due to COVID-19 on the exercise of religious freedom according to the Greek legislation and case-law. The crucial fact to be examined is the proportionality of the exceptional measures of the Greek State. At the beginning of the pandemic, religious ceremonies were allowed only in the presence of clerics, but nowadays they are permitted on the condition that the measures of “social distancing” are being followed strictly. As it is generally accepted, the Greek State managed to deal with the pandemic without deviations from constitutional order and protection of fundamental rights, in accordance with a “pressing social need”. In this context, the case-law of the Greek courts is of great importance, which ruled that the above mentioned restrictions did not offend the principle of proportionality, especially because of their temporary and short-term character. Nevertheless, these restrictive measures must be revised from time to time, considering the updated, epidemiological data in order to be selected the most appropriate and less stringent on a case-by-case basis. Consequently, these judgments do not give government a blank cheque regarding the management of the pandemic, but rather provide them with a clear framework which is able to guarantee the measures’ accordance with the Greek Constitution. However, the potential risk that people may become used to the restrictions imposed after the crisis has passed must not be overlooked.
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