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Society

No Cheer Year: COVID-19 Cuts Down Greece’s Christmas Tree Hopes

November 20, 2020

ATHENS – Just to make 2020 even bleaker, the raging ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will likely see a drop in Christmas tree sales if a second lockcown aimed at preventing the spread of the Coronavirus isn't lifted Dec. 1.

The New Democracy government said it would wait to see what the epidemiological data reads at that time before deciding whether to keep non-essential businesses longer, that would cut into the Christmas shopping time.

Seasonal stores that sell Christmas items are among those shut for now, some stores showing artificial trees and other goods for the holidays behind shuttered doors and visible in store windows.

Fir tree growers who supply the trees are nervously waiting to see if they can proceed, said Kathimerini, with each day more important the closer it gets to Christmas which could decide whether they will cut and deliver them.

Consumers could also see the chances of getting artificial trees limited if there's a greater demand when – or if – the seasonal stores open or if Christmas and the holiday period past New Year's Day and the Jan. 6 Little Christmas is wiped out.

The Environment Ministry on Nov. 13 gave its annual approval for the felling of trees for seasonal decoration purposes, but if retail trade is not allowed to restart it will be moot.

It will especially affect the already staggering economy in areas such as Taxiarchis in Halkidiki, northern Greece, from where 70 percent of the country’s Christmas trees come from.

“If retail trade opens on December 1, we will be at our posts,” Makis Kontis, a local fir tree grower told the paper. But he said that, “If it opens a week later, we will have a problem, as the trees are usually sold on December 1-15,” which means a critical sales period being lost. 

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