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Society

Greece’s Restaurant Owners Want Help; Only Seated Customers Served

ATHENS – Nearly devastated by long lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 and finally being allowed to open again, restaurateurs in Greece are asking the government to suspend evictions and extend their rent subsidies.

They want their rent based on their income and not set by the owners of the properties and have reached out to Finance Minister Christos Staikouras as they're struggling to recoup losses, said Kathimerini.

The Hellenic Association of Organized Food Service Enterprises (EPOES) will bring that up during a July 7 meeting and cite that their lost revenues are up to 70 percent in some cases and many won't even open again until July 15.

There are only a few cases where a property owner and a food service enterprise have resorted to the courts over an eviction, the report said, but the restaurant owners are fearful the government aid will run out on Aug. 1.

EPOES representatives told Kathimerini that some companies, after not working at all for many months, now will have to pay full salaries and rent in August without the option of reducing their staff and that many could shutter then.

Eateries, night clubs and bars will only be allowed to host and serve seated customers, as of July 8, the New Democracy government said, to a bid to slow a sudden and surprise surge in Coronavirus cases as a vaccination program is lagging.

Deputy Civil Protection & Crisis Management Minister Nikos Hardalias said the rate of clusters of infection jumped 32 percent, likely because of public gatherings of people not wearing masks nor keeping safe social distances, with hundreds of cases tracked specifically to night clubs.

That has coincided with worries about a rapid new spread because of the more contagious Delta variant from India and a majority of people in Greece refusing or reluctant to be vaccinated.

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