x

Economy

Greek Cafes Still Shuttered by COVID-19 Measures (Photos)

ATHENS — Silence has replaced the low hum of conversation and the clink of glasses that pervaded the sidewalk cafes across Athens. Their chairs and tables, once occupied throughout the day and deep into the night, stand stacked in empty piles, some secured by chains.

When coronavirus infections rose again in Greece in the fall, the government imposed a second lockdown. Retail stores, bars, restaurants and cafes found themselves shuttered once more, forced to close their doors in early November to prevent the virus's insidious spread. 

Retail stores opened briefly during the Christmas holidays, with social distancing measures in place, and starting Monday will be allowed to reopen to customers on an appointment basis. But the restaurants, bars and cafes, which by nature gather groups of people closely together, will enter their sixth month of being shut except for take away or delivery service.. 

While state subsidies such as rent coverage, loans, tax reductions and paid employee furlough schemes are available, the formula hasn't worked for all business owners. 

Vassilis Panteris, co-owner of an all-day bar that provides coffee, food and drinks in a central Athens neighborhood, shut down at the start of Greece's second lockdown on Nov. 7 and hasn't opened since.

The main reason, he said, was the partners feared they wouldn't be able to make enough money from deliveries to cover operation costs, even with fewer staff members. They also worried that some customers coming by for take-away coffee, food or drinks wouldn't adhere to social distancing and other government regulations, exposing the café to hefty fines.

Panteris said the business has lost about 30,000 euros ($35,000) since the start of the pandemic. Business owners hope for more substantial government support to retain employees and keep their establishments alive. Greece sank back into recession last year due to the pandemic and accompanying lockdown measures. 

"It's hard to make predictions about the course of the business in the middle of such an unstable environment," Panteris said.

Since the start of the pandemic, Greece has reported more than 263,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 8,000 virus-related deaths. The country of around 11 million people so far has administered 1.7 million vaccine doses, with over 600,000 people fully vaccinated with two shots.

RELATED

NICOSIA — The European Union has earmarked 657 million euros ($736 million) for the construction of a a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable that will link the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, Cypriot Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said Thursday.

Top Stories

Associations

ASTORIA – The Pancyprian Choir of NY held its first meeting of 2022 and shared best wishes for the New Year with their annual cutting of the traditional vasilopita at Dionysos Taverna in Astoria on January 24.

Associations

BRONX, NY – In a festive atmosphere, the traditional cutting of the vasilopita was held by the Northern Chios Society of Pelineon Agia Markella in the community hall of Zoodohos Peghe Greek Orthodox Church in the Bronx on January 23.

Society

ATHENS – A major snow storm that had been predicted for days still caught residents in Greece offguard and the New Democracy government scrambling for answers as to why motorists were stuck for hours on major roads.

Video

Democrats Eye Supreme Court Pick to Revive 2022 Prospects

Democrats stung by a series of election year failures to deliver legislative wins for their most loyal voters hope they'll be buoyed by the prospect that President Joe Biden will name the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

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