Desperate Greek Businesses Want Out of COVID-19 Stranglehold

ATHENS – Closed more than half the previous 12 months in the government’s frantic bid to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, battered Greek businesses  – many nearing going under – are pressing the government to let them open again.

Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has been trying to balance saving lives against restoring an economy that shrank 8.2 percent in 2020 and keeps pushing back a third lockdown, set to lift March 16.

But still, even with vaccinations underway, the most optimistic scenario, said Kathimerini, is letting retail stores open with limits on customers per square meters for a business’ size and opening restaurants in April, only for outdoor seating.

The government and health officials earlier said vaccinations could lead to some return to normality by November, too late for a real tourism season or for some businesses on the brink.

The decisions will be based on epidemiological data and the government’s advisory panel of doctors and scientists guiding health restrictions and recommendations on the economy too, the lockdown not working enough yet.

The paper said that Mitsotakis’ aides said he hasn’t gone to a strict lockdown because the economy can’t take continued pressure after the state pumped in 17.5 billion euros ($20.79 billion) in 2020 in aid for laid-off workers and their struggling businesses required to close.

The 2021 budget provided another 7.5 billion euros ($8.91 billion) for support measures but has already hit 11.5 billion euros ($13.66 billion) less than a quarter into the new year, the state also losing as much as 1.2 billion euros ($1.43 billion) monthly in lost tax revenues with businesses shuttered.


ATHENS - After saying a Value Added Tax (VAT) on food as high as 24 percent couldn’t be reduced because it was unaffordable, the New Democracy government has given a cut from that rate to 13 percent for taxis.

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NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Alberto, Season’s First Named Tropical Storm, Dumps Rain on Texas and Mexico, Which Reports 3 Deaths

TAMPICO, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto rumbled toward northeast Mexico early Thursday as the first named storm of the season, carrying heavy rains that left three people dead but also brought hope to a region suffering under a prolonged, severe drought.

NEW YORK – Greek-American long-distance runner Alexi Pappas was featured in Vogue magazine for her latest role as an ambassador for the outdoor brand Merrell and a film project with Merrell and Vogue.

ATHENS - A total of 64 fires broke out in mixed farm and forest land in the last 24 hours, with 46 of them controlled from the very start, the Fire Brigade said in a briefing earlier on Friday.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A serial killer who admitted he was responsible for the deaths of five Alaskans, including committing the first when he was only 14, has died in an Indiana prison, officials said.

BERLIN  — Austria picked up a crucial win at the European Championship by defeating Poland 3-1 in its second group match and leaving the Poles on the brink of elimination on Friday.

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