Greece's five-year financial crisis took its most dramatic turn to date Sunday, with the cabinet deciding, after an 8-hour session, that Greek banks would remain shut for six working days and restrictions would be imposed on cash withdrawals.
The Athens Stock Exchange would also not open on Monday, financial sector officials confirmed.
A decree published in the official Government Gazette stipulates banks will not open Monday morning and will remain closed through Monday, July 6. The finance minister could decide to short or extend that period.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said earlier in the day that the Bank of Greece had recommended that banks remain closed and restrictions be imposed on transactions, after the European Central Bank didn't increase the amount of emergency liquidity the lenders can access from the central bank
The move followed two day's of long lines forming at ATMs across the country, following Tsipras' decision to call a referendum on creditor proposals for Greek reforms in return for vital bailout funds.
The prime minister appeared to blame the European Central Bank and tried to avert panic among Greeks in tweets that followed the announcement.
"The recent decisions of the Eurogroup and ECB have only one objective: to attempt to stifle the will of the Greek people," Tsipras said on Twitter.
"In the coming days, what's needed is patience and composure. The bank deposits of the Greek people are fully secure," Tsipras said in a separate tweet.
Withdrawals from ATM with credit or cash cards will be capped at 60 euros, or $66, daily. The decree said ATMs would be working at the latest 12 hours from its publication, meaning cash machines would open by early afternoon, at the latest.
Web banking transactions will be mostly free, allowing people to pay their bills online. However, they cannot move money to accounts abroad.
Credit and bank cards issued abroad can be used at the ATMs with no restrictions. This will benefit foreign visitors to Greece and the tourist industry. Many anxious tourists had joined locals at ATM lines on Sunday, thinking the restrictions would apply to them, as well.
For emergency needs, such as importing medicines or sending remittances abroad, the Greek Treasury was creating a Banking Transactions Approval Committee to examine requests on a case-by-case basis.