ATHENS – The New Democracy government hopes that stores locked down a second time to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be able to open again on Dec. 1 to try to save Christmas season critical for them and the economy.
It will depend on whether the second lockdown, that began Nov. 7, is successful in holding down the number of cases and deaths that had both been soaring because many people weren't following health protocols and nightclubs and bars had been allowed to stay open.
Alternate Development Minister Nikos Papathanasis told SKAI TV there is a plan for the gradual reopening, starting with retail and food catering places especially hard hit, although some restaurant owners said they might have closed for good.
A reopening would follow the pattern of the lifting of a first lockdown that began March 23 and lasted up to 10 weeks for some businesses, smaller stores opening first and then bigger retailers, malls and restaurants the last to get the go-ahead.
Papathanasis further told Thema Radio that the lifting of restrictions probably won’t take place across Greece simultaneously, with the infection rate of each region the critical determination.
Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis told SKAI it will take about another week before health authorities have a better outlook at how the second lockdown is working, people required to stay home except for allowed missions.
Entrepreneurs in retail commerce told Kathimerini they doubt the timeline and that they don't expect to open again until at least Dec. 7 and only if the pandemic starts getting under control, expecting restaurants and cafes shut until Dec. 14.
that the information they have received from other government officials is that it will be exceptionally difficult for their businesses to reopen before December 7. While eager to get going again, businesses said they need a heads-up on when it would happen so they can prepare for Christmas, sources not identified told the newspaper.