ATHENS – A click-and-collect scheme to let shoppers order online and make reservations to get their goods at stores, in limited queues up to nine people, will start again in Greece on Jan. 11 after being suspended for tighter health measures.
The week-long closing of the method came as the New Democracy government tried to contain a still surging second wave of COVID-19 that jumped during a more lenient second lockdown that began Nov. 7 and kept being extended after failing.
“We are restricting movement, and this will help broaden the scope so that schools can reopen in a safer manner,” General Secretary for Commerce and Consumer Protection Panagiotis Stambolidis told Mega TV.
He said retail stores could then resume the pickup service outside their doors, a program that had helped some businesses recoup staggering losses during the lockdown, after they had been closed 17 weeks in 2020.
“The market is shut. The click away was a choice we gave closed businesses so they could generate some income beyond the assistance they receive from the state,” Stambolidis said, referring to the government’s decision to reopen retail – with limitations – ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
“Our desire is to return to how we were before the latest lockdown. That’s the plan so far, to return … that were in operation during the holidays,” he said although it still wasn’t said if that would include hair and nail salons and other businesses that were allowed to open during the holidays.
Kindergartens and elementary schools are also due to reopen then unless there’s another spike in cases before then, although at least one official on the government’s advisory panel of doctors and scientists said it might not be safe even then.