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Greek Businesses Want Second COVID-19 Lockdown Lift in January

Αssociated Press

Empty streets near Omonoia square in central Athens, on Sunday Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS - No decision has yet been made whether a second lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 will be lifted across Greece as scheduled on Jan. 7, 2021, waiting for epidemiological data closer to that date.

Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said there won't even be talk about the prospect until the days leading up to that date, keeping business owners worried whether they hang on after being closed some 2 ½ months this year already.

Speaking to ANT1 TV he said that, “If we continue to do well, we will open in areas that infectious disease specialists tell us are free of the virus,” indicating some areas would be allowed to have businesses open.

“In the first week of the new year, we will study the data for the opening of retail trade,” he added, but only for commercial stores and not restaurants which aren't being considered yet because of the danger of inside dining in proximity.

He also said that a video conference about ski resorts, which “have suffered a lot of damage,” was to take place to see if there's some remedy for them, the risk relatively lower with people outside away from each other except inside at the resort buildings.

He mentioned the click-and-collect scheme that has allowed people to order online from closed businesses and go to the store to pick up items at specified times with queues limited to nine people as offering some help.

He said that was done “to help smaller stores and neighborhood shops, since these have been closed due to the Coronavirus,” although the damage may already been done to many not expected to survive the deadly pandemic.

He said there was a benefit from the click-and-collect method as well as online shopping that will see e-commerce better thrive. “The fear that technology will lead to job losses has existed in every era but it has never been confirmed,” he also said.