Greece’s COVID-19 Lockdown Eases, Retailers Pin Hope on Winter Sales

ATHENS  – Holding their breath and hoping customers will turn out, retail stores and hair salons are open to business again – with conditions – as Greece’s New Democracy partially lifted a COVID-19 lenient second lockdown.

Car inspection centers (KTEO) also got the green light although technically the health measures for the second closing of non-essential businesses are still in place, although customers can spend up to two hours in stores with reservations.

People still must wear hair masks and stay safe social distances from each other as the government wants to try to prevent a third wave after a second resurged so fast Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was caught off guard.

Business leaders said some 140,000 employees returned to work just as a winter sales period was in effect, bringing hope to recoup some of the massive revenues lost to 20 weeks of being closed the previous 10 months.

Retailers estimate they could rake in as much as 2.5 billion euros ($3.03 billion) for the period that runs until Feb. 27, still only half of what they would normally bring in.

Buyers may be eager to purchase what they couldn’t get during a more lenient second lockdown, especially clothing and shoes, chain stores usually getting the most business during allotted sales times.

More specifically, retail stores expect that turnover during the discount period The government said stores must limit queues outside their doors and those in areas with the highest levels of the Coronavirus can’t open but can sell goods online with customers allowed for reserved pickup times.

Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said that the government is considering allowing people to travel between regional units, but only so they can visit ski resorts.

But the hardest-hit sector – restaurants and bars – still won’t be open and could be closed for months more because they are seen as hot spots for spreading the virus and there are worries many may never reopen.


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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