Greece's Delivery Services Can't Keep Up With COVID-19 Lockdown Demand


(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Vassilis Papadopoulos)

ATHENS – Greece's second lockdown closing non-essential businesses in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in people turning online for deliveries of goods that the post office and ACS, the main courier service, warning of delays.

It could take at least six days to deliver packages that would usually come the next day or even sooner because so many orders are being made as Christmas approaches and people can't go to stores.

To alleviate the pressure, the New Democracy government said people could order online and make an appointment to pick up their purchases at the stores, unless that results in too many doing so, in which case it would be revoked.

Both ACS and Hellenic Post's (ELTA) door-to-door service referred to a massive volume of orders recorded, the product of the ongoing lockdown, which has seen the greatest part of the retail sector shut down, noting the holiday rush.

ELTA's statement said the volume of orders this period, compared to the corresponding period of 2019, is up by nearly 61 percent, and rising, the business newspaper Naftemporiki reported.

ACS, the biggest parcel delivery service in the country, told consumers that deliveries are backed up and could take even longer for Athens and the country's second-largest city Thessaloniki, and areas around them.

They released statements in the wake of criticism in the press and on social media over the delays, trying to explain why it's taking so long, which could persist, with the second quasi-lockdown extended until at least Jan. 7, 2021.

Reports also said that couriers are just dropping off notices at people's homes telling them where to come to pick up their packages instead of delivering them directly, leaving it up to the customer to get them.