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Society

Rhodes Business With Sunbeds in Sea, Taking Over Beach, Shut Down

A beachfront business on Rhodes operating unlawfully, including setting up 19 sunbeds in the sea on metal platforms a year after they were removed by authorities, was sealed off and faces demolition.

Responding to a barrage of complaints, including on a new cell phone app that lets people report violators of regulations limiting how much public beach space can be leased – itself unconstitutional – state officials moved against the business.

Teams from the Dodecanese branch of the Public Real Estate Corporation, supported by the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) and the police, cordoned off the beach and the sunbeds.

The owner, a repeat offender who was said to have unlawfully taken over the beach, was given 48 hours to remove them or municipal officials said they would do so, a rare crackdown against businesses that have been allowed to operate on beaches.

Notices were put up in both English and Greek, informing that violating the seal is now a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment, the government requiring businesses to obtain leases limiting beach occupation to 50 percent.

In this case, it was said the owner didn’t have a lease and just took over the beach after getting a permit to put a food truck there 10 years earlier, with Greece’s beaches and coasts increasingly being occupied by businesses.

The business is also facing fines equivalent to four times the normal annual lease under the new legislation but it wasn’t reported whether the operation had been paying taxes either or why it was allowed to stay open unlawfully for years.

The move was the first under a new law stipulating that the business owner cannot request a judicial suspension of the sealing order but can only seek its cancellation from the local Court of Appeals.

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