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Petsas: Government Hopes to Open Retail Stores Before Holidays

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Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Vassilis Rembanis)

ATHENS -- The government hopes to reopen retail stores "sometime before the holidays," government spokesman Stelios Petsas said on Saturday, "but that will depend on the stance we all keep."

In an interview to Skai TV, Petsas said that the plan following the lockdown is to allow opening of sectors without high coronavirus infection rates, such as schools.

Referring in particular to the food sector, he said owners "are concerned" because if they open but the infection rates are high, "they will end up without any profits, but with all the expenditures, so they do not want to assume such a risk." On the other hand, it would help both employees and the psychology of the public to return to operation gradually and under restrictions, in a semblance of normalcy at least, he underlined.

The second lockdown in Greece this year went into effect on November 7 and its deadline was extended from November 30 to December 7, as the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has brought a spike in infections and a slow drop in new cases. The food sector is not allowed to seat customers, but may continue to serve them through deliveries or takeaways.

Petsas also said that it is unlikely travel within prefectures and regions will be allowed yet, out of fear of spread of infections.

Asked to comment about Greek-Turkish relations, the government spokesman addressed Turkey's behavior in creating tension. Referring to the research ship "Oruc Reis" and its sailing in Greek continental shelf waters, he said, "They can't say that 'Today we are taking the ship out, then we dock it at port' and when the European Council is over they bring it out again. This is a pretextual and hypocritical policy. At some point, there is a limit to hypocrisy."