COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Many Social Routines for Greeks

ATHENS – Lockdowns that kept people largely at home for months when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020 has significantly altered the lifestyle of Greeks, including moving away from going to eat late at night.

A survey conducted by the firm MSPS and Alternative for Coca-Cola HBC showed the big chance in habits that the pandemic has created, after earlier findings that more people had switched to delivery of supermarket goods too.

While restaurants, bars, taverns, eateries and caterers said they don’t think business will return to normal until 2024, the survey found that many people are turning to different routine in their lives.

The survey’s findings were presented at the HORECA Fair, the exhibition for the hospitality and food service sector that offered an insight into just how different life has become during the unprecedented health crisis.

While dining even after midnight is common in Greece as a habit, many now go out from 7-10 p.m. instead, a trend showing especially in the capital’s suburbs and as restrictions still remain, the unvaccinated allegedly locked out.

People also tend to go out more often straight after work, which hadn’t been evident in Greece before the pandemic, said Kathimerini in a report on the findings, and with fewer people going out together to limit contacts.

While music and dancing had been limited and occasionally prohibited, more people are wanting to dance and are willing to spend more when they go out to meet a pent-up demand.

Compared to the pre-pandemic period, there has been a 6 percent drop in people visiting cafes,  12 percent drop in taverna patrons, 21 percent in restaurant customers, 23 percent at cafe-bars, and 20 percent at fast food joints.

There was also a 30 percent drop in customers at bars, 51 percent at clubs that were often closed, and 37 percent at restaurants, which had often been limited outdoor dining and now can’t allow the unvaccinated.

The main reasons cited for not going out as much and finding entertainment at home is to save money, said 70 percent of respondents, while 62 percent said it was to avoid contact and stay safe, and 46 percent wanting avoid crowds and noise.

Some 66 percent said they now go out less, but 55 percent said they consume about the same amount of food and drink when they do go out and 37 percent saying it was less although prices have risen in many sectors during the pandemic.



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