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Society

Greek Bars, Cafes Defying COVID-19 Measures Face Stricter Penalties

ATHENS – Some desperate, some defiant, Greek cafe, bar and restaurant owners serving customers outside their premises during a second lockdown that’s been toughened to deal with COVID-19 will be whacked with fines.

That was the warning from Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis who said while their doors are closed that the establishments can’t serve people outside for now.

They have been shut down since Nov. 7, 2020, going on almost three months, after being locked down for 2 ½ months earlier last year, bringing many to the brink of extinction, owners trying to keep themselves afloat, violating rules.

Restaurants and cafes are allowed to have deliver and pickup services but officials said customers are being allowed to linger outside and consume goods that isn’t allowed.

Speaking from a government building in Greece’s third largest city of Patras on the west coast, Chrysochoidis said that while he is sympathetic to their plight that the government is already offering some  financial help to them cope.

“We cannot risk public health and that is our priority and foremost political decision. Let us all find some strength and put on a brave face until this is over,” he said, reported Kathimerini.

Customers should not loiter at stores after picking up their orders in person, Commerce and Consumer Protection Secretary General Panagiotis Staboulides clarified on Tuesday.

After ordering online or by phone, pickups should be part of of other reasons to leave the house, he noted, not single trips. The government allows six types of movement out of home, and picking up orders should be part of one of these tasks.

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