ATHENS – The meter is running on Greece’s growing losses because of lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, the tab estimated at 2.4 billion euros ($2.91 billion) every month.
That was the estimate from the Finance Ministry which has had to keep revising the 2021 budget and with no word on how some 32 billion euros ($38.81 billion) in European Union loans and grant aid is being spent.
The New Democracy government in 2020, as the pandemic began almost a year ago, pumped 17.5 billion euros ($21.22 billion) into subsidies for companies temporarily closed during lockdowns and their workers.
Support measures so far this year, only six weeks in, have cost another 5.9 billion euros ($7.16 billion) with the further bleeding of tax revenues another worry although the government is going ahead with plans to buy French-made Rafale fighter jets and French frigates with tension rising with Turkey.
A third lockdown, only a little more stringent than a second that began Nov. 7, 2020 and failed to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, is seen bringing perhaps catastrophic losses to businesses, as many as half possibly closing.
That will deprive the government of more money that could be returned in aid packages especially restaurants, bars and taverns closed for four months and half the previous year, limited to take-out and delivery services only.