I was so impressed when I saw customers in restaurants – it was like it was the first time in my life that I saw such a scene. It was a pleasant and hopeful sight. A sign of life – and clear evidence that the end of the coronavirus crisis is approaching. The nightmare, which began over a year ago, seems to be fading.
As we passed in front of one of the restaurants, I stopped to enjoy the spectacle. People were engaged in their conversations and their food as if nothing else was going on in the world.
The owner told me the restaurant was at its capacity noon and night for four days straight.
The pandemic has certainly not been uprooted. Tens of thousands of people are still dying from COVID every day. But thanks to the vaccinations, in countries like America, and at a much slower pace in Europe, great progress is being made.
Greece is moving forward with its vaccinations as quickly as possible, with people realizing that they are the only solution.
Of course, as in any other country, a percentage of the population here does not believe in vaccines. And as in any other country, here too there is pandemic fatigue. But people want to get back to what they were doing – back to their definition of ‘normal.’ And now that the temperature reminds us of summertime, people want outdoor activities to begin again.
Business owners tell me they have exceeded the limits of their patience and endurance. After so many months of their respective businesses being closed, they couldn’t wait until they finally got the OK to open them back up.
And yet, here too, as in New York, people are debating whether or not the actions taken with the aim of returning to normalcy are hasty and over-optimistic. They don’t want to cause another wave of new cases.
I'm not an expert, of course, but I doubt it, and I doubt it because the vaccinations – the key to tackling the coronavirus – are progressing at a rapid pace. And because in some places the supply of vaccines exceeds the demand already. Additionally, sooner or later pharmaceutical companies will be forced, under the weight of public opinion and pressure from the Biden administration, to share vaccine patents with other companies around the world.
I had written about how unusual and sad the image of a ‘locked-down’ country was when we came to Athens.
But now she is slowly returning to what she was and always will be. To what we remember and know.
The Greece of Summertime.