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Economy

More Stores Opening in Greece, COVID-19 Lockdown Rolls Back

ATHENS – Despite widespread violations of social distancing, a lockdown that was aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus will continue being eased with further lifting of restrictions on May 11.

That will allow an array of other small businesses to open although stores are supposed to limit customers and to keep them apart while inside, with scenes showing that’s not happening in some cases despite warnings it could retrigger the virus.

Deputy Development and Investments Minister Nikos Papathanassis said the second wave of loosened restrictions will allow stores selling clothing, home appliances and cosmetics to open now.

Also included are those selling sound and image equipment, textile products, ironworks, house paint, glass, rugs, electrical appliances, furniture, music, toys, clothing and shoes, cosmetics and jewellery.

Speaking at the daily briefing on coronavirus developments, Papathanassis also announced later opening hours for most stores, restrictions in customers served at any one time, and recommendations about elevator use.

Other shops opening on May 11 include those renting sports and leisure equipment, personal or home equipment, retail businesses with outdoor stands, driving schools, betting stores, and diet services.

The lockdown imposed March 23, ahead of the timeline in other countries that were harder hit, made Greece among the best performers in the world in holding down the number of cases and deaths.

The New Democracy government said it would continue to be driven by advice from scientists and experts in the field of infectious diseases but Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it’s also important to gradually restart the economy.

The government poured 17.5 billion euros ($19.2 billion) into aiding affected workers temporarily laid off by business closings, giving them 800-euro ($877.64) payments as well as subsidies to companies that were hurt economically.

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