Petsas: Our Primary Concern Is the Safety and Health of All

ATHENS — "The message we are sending is clear. Our primary concern is the safety and health of all," government spokesperson Stelios Petsas said on Thursday during a press briefing.

He stressed that a decisive step has been taken to reopen Greece to tourism. "We are continuing preparations in order to ensure the maximum possible protection of the health of the sector's employees, the residents in tourist destinations and, of course, our visitors," he said.

Petsas emphasised that vigilance cannot be relaxed, especially in transport and in businesses that serve food and drinks, and others where health and hygiene are a priority.

"We cannot focus only on possible imported cases and be indifferent to the necessary protection measures, especially the correct use of a mask in places where there is congestion, for example on the ship that takes us to our favorite island. Let's say yes to the observance of the measures recommended by the experts. Let's just say no to complacency that can quickly destroy what we have won with great difficulty. If we relax, we will pay for it," he underlined.

Petsas then referred to the presence of the prime minister at the general assembly of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises, "in a tourist year that is not the same as last year. It is different. And in which Greece claims a larger share of a clearly smaller pie. And it is up to us to achieve this by putting forward not only the beauty, history and culture of our homeland but also its successful handling of the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic."

As the government spokesperson pointed out, "the government, together with businesses and tourism workers, is doing everything in its power to lessen the losses in arrivals and receipts from abroad and at the same time strengthen the competitiveness of the tourist package in accommodation and restaurants with tax cuts, such as VAT, and additional liquidity with the financial instruments it has activated."

The goal, he said, is to "keep the productive fabric of our tourism industry intact so that it can take advantage of a dynamic recovery next season."

"In the same way that it helped [businesses] restart their activities after the lifting of restrictive measures, the government stands ready to provide further support, either by expanding or by extending the measures already in place. We are doing and will continue to do everything we can to support our economy, [so it is not pushed] beyond its endurance."

The government spokesman explained as far as the economy is concerned, it is "particularly positive that the 10-year bond yield fell to 1.25 pct on Wednesday from 1.57 pct in early June, reaching the level of 10-year Italian bonds. This development proves that the international investment community rewards the responsibility and reliability of our policy. It gives a clear vote of confidence in the government, in the economy, in our homeland. And all this in a year of deep recession as we sacrificed a part of our prosperity to protect the good of public health and human life."



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