COVID-19 Lockdown Change Cuts Customer Limits in Greek Supermarkets

ATHENS – As retail stores, hairdressers and hair salons were allowed to open again – with limits on customers – during partial easing of a second COVID-19 lockdown, the rule was applied to supermarkets too, requiring them to reduce their numbers too.

The change means supermarkets will have to limit customers to 60 percent of the previous limit which was widely ignored and in some hypermarkets saw vast crowds unable to keep the required safe social distance of 1.5 meters (4.92 feet.)

The measures have resulted in long queues outside the stores, said Kathimerini, in the middle of winter and as markets weren’t fully requiring customers who were wearing masks – or workers – to keep them over their noses too.

The Research Institute of Retail Consumer Goods (IELKA) wants the new restrictions rolled back to the previous limits that allegedly allowed only one customer per 10 square meters (107.639 square feet) which has been set now at 25 square meters (270 square feet.)

The organization also asked for food stores and supermarkets to close at 8.30 p.m. as was the case and not at 8 p.m. as has been set at 8 p.m. It had been 9 p.m. for many before the pandemic and lockdowns.

Some supermarkets require customers to take cards going in, barring entry for those when they run out until others leave the store but some businesses don’t issue them nor attempt to limit how many people come in, no reports of fines or penalties.


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