Greece’s Tourism, Food Sectors Get 700-Million Euro COVID-19 Shot

ATHENS – Withering in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, the tourism industry and closed bars, restaurants, taverns and caterers in Greece will receive another 700-million euro ($825 million) state injection.

They’ve especially been driven down over the last 13 months, with lockdowns keeping non-essential businesses closed more than half that time, the food sector likely to see thousands of companies not reopening when it’s lifted.

That’s part of an overarching plan to pour another 3 billion euros ($3.54 billion) into the economy after the New Democracy government in 2020 fueled it with 17.5 billion euros ($20.63 billion) to prevent a collapse.

The European Union has also given Greece 32 billion euros ($37.72 billion) in loans and grants but there haven’t been any reports where that has gone and if it’s to be in the coming subsidies or if laid-off workers would be aided as well.

The government is in a seventh phase as well of cheap loan programs known as Deposit To Be Returned unless an assisted company goes bust and can’t repay what it borrowed.

A senior Finance Ministry Source not named told Kathimerini that continuing aid for businesses and workers is draining state resources and increasing a budget deficit, already cutting growth estimates.

The government will give food-related businesses 350 million euros ($412.55 million) with a fast-track procedure, the paper said, to keep them afloat while closed, and to buy raw materials if they open again, which many won’t.

The Development and Investment Ministry is to announce a detailed plan of support using European funds that will subsidize some of their monthly losses as the government has been doing with rent.

The plan will reportedly include covering eligible costs to make sure the food businesses have enough cash flow to get up and running immediately when a third lockdown, now almost five months old, is ended, no date given yet.

The other 350 million euros, also with EU financial backing, will go to tourism-related companies as the government is set to open for visitors on May 15 but with requirements they either have been vaccinated or show proof of negative tests.

Tourism is the country’s biggest revenue engine and brings in as much as 18-20 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 169.93 billion euros ($200.3 billion) and employs a quarter of the workforce.

What goes into that plan won’t be announced until late April or early May, a high-placed source not named told the paper as Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is balancing saving lives and the economy.

“Our aim is to support the enterprises of these two sectors so that they can restart their operation upon the opening of this year’s tourism season,” Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told the paper.

He said state support measures will surpass 14 billion euros ($16.5 billion) in 2021 and that the government will continue to prop up businesses and workers as long as it can, especially tourism or there won't be any economy left standing.

Besides food service and tourism, measures will include a reduced corporate income tax deposit, freezing the solidarity tax for 2022 too, and the extension of reduced social security contributions beyond 2021 or further reduction by the end of 2023.


ATHENS - The growing use of Point-of-Service (POS) machines tying businesses directly to the tax department when transactions are made has helped cut deep into Greece’s shadow economy of using cash to avoid paying taxes.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Jimmy Carter Becomes First Living Ex-President with Official White House Christmas Ornament

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter has another distinction to his name.

JERUSALEM  — International efforts to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas appeared to gain new momentum Thursday as the White House said a visit by a senior envoy with Israeli leaders was “going well” and other mediators reported encouraging signs from the warring parties.

ATHENS - With improvement changes made by the leadership of the Ministry of Justice and after a two-day lengthy debate and intense confrontation between the government and the opposition, the draft bill for the new penal code was voted by a majority in the plenary session of the Hellenic Parliament.

LAS VEGAS  — Hydeia Broadbent, the HIV/AIDS activist who came to national prominence in the 1990s as a young child for her inspirational talks to reduce the stigma surrounding the virus she was born with, has died.

NEW YORK – Greek-American John Avlon, a Democrat and former CNN political analyst, announced on February 21 that he is running for Congress in New York’s 1st Congressional District, the New York Times reported, noting that he is entering “a crowded congressional primary to try to flip a Republican-held swing seat on Long Island.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.