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AP PHOTOS. Greek cafes are still closed for COVID-19 events

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Silence has been replaced by the low-pitched talk և of the cups that pervaded Athens’ sidewalk cafes. Their chairs and tables, once occupied all day, overnight, stand in empty piles, some of which are secured with chains.

When coronavirus infections rose again in Greece in the fall, the government imposed a second blockade. Retail stores, bars, restaurants and cafes were closed again, forcing them to close in early November to prevent the virus from spreading.

Retail stores are open for short periods of time during the Christmas holidays, social distance measures are applied, and customers are allowed to reopen on Mondays by arrangement. But restaurants, bars, and cafes that actually bring groups of people together will be in their sixth month of closure, except for shipping or delivery service.

Although there are government subsidies such as rent, credit, tax breaks, and employee pay schemes, the formula did not work for all business owners.

Vasilis Panteris, a kind co-owner of coffee, food and drink supply in the central district of Athens, closed on November 7 at the beginning of the second blockade of Greece, but has not been opened since.

According to him, the main reason was that the partners were afraid that they would not be able to earn enough money from the deliveries to cover the operating costs, even with a smaller staff. They were also concerned that some customers who came for coffee, food or drink did not maintain social distance այլ other government regulations, and the cafe was subject to severe fines.

Panteris said the business has lost about 30,000 euros ($ 35,000) since the epidemic began. Business owners are hoping for more government support to keep employees afloat. Greece fell last year due to an epidemic blockade.

“It is difficult to make predictions about the course of business in such an unstable environment,” said Panteris.

Greece has reported more than 263,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 8,000 virus-related deaths since the outbreak began. The country, with a population of about 11 million, has so far delivered 1.7 million doses of the vaccine, with more than 600,000 people fully vaccinated with two shots.

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