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Economy

Athens’ Restaurants Closing Over COVID-19, Suburban Eateries Offer Delivery

ATHENS – A second lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 will be too much for many restaurants in the Greek capital that said they will shut down until it's lifted, leaving it to those in suburbs to offer takeaway or delivery.

Restaurateurs in Athens said it wouldn't be profitable to try to survive on takeaway or deliveries because their main source of revenues is people sitting in to dine and buying liquor. 

With more people continuing to work remotely from home with the pandemic now more than seven months old, the restaurant owners tried to hang on during the summer with outdoor dining that will be less likely during autumn and winter.

But just outside Athens, said Kathimerini, restaurants are trying to fill the void by offering delivery and takeaway and could have a captive market unless people don't opt for longer arrival times for food.

Many are cooperating with delivery services such as e-food or Wolt, the paper said, to make deliveries more efficient and hoping closer-by residents where they operate will come in for takeout orders.

 capital’s suburbs, as even restaurants that never used to provide for takeaway or delivery services have decided it’s worth a try, with many cooperating with the – When – or if – the COVID-19 pandemic ever ends, the aftermath in Greece will find far fewer restaurants, many set to close their doors permanently after a lockdown closed them up to 10 weeks and left only limited service after.

Greece's renowned culinary landscape is set to show the devastating effects as restaurants as of Nov. 3 in hardest hit areas were closed again, except for deliveries and take-out.

Many were able to survive the first lockdown that began in March, using their savings as a buffer, but those have been wiped out for some establishments that have seen far less foot traffic even during the summer, with indoor dining barred.

The effects were portrayed in a report by the newspaper, which noted how hard hit tourism was and now also the catering sector with no public gatherings and limited for weddings and other functions being closed off.

Catering employs about 500,000 people while tourism is the biggest revenue engine and major workforce the economy relies up as it's set to shrink after being on the verge of a faster recovery from a near-decade-long economic crisis.

With far fewer tourists in the summer and residents shying away from going out to eat, restaurants were already in a precarious position, many unlikely to survive the new closings that are set for at least a month, the paper said.

The government has directed a 40 percent rent cut for businesses and establishments and suspension of contracts for workers but once they're allowed to open again restaurants will still have to pay 60 percent of the rent for the period when they were closed, leading many to just give up.

Delivery and take-out isn't enough to survive on, restaurateurs have said, estimating it brings in only about 10 percent of their losses, making staying open a losing proposition daily.

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