Bars and cafes close in Greece in protest of epidemics

Bars and cafes close in Greece in protest of epidemics

athena – Associations representing restaurants and catering companies in Greece organized strikes and protests across the country on Tuesday, seeking a renewed financial relief from the government due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Athens’ crowded traditional restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs remained closed with chairs flipped over at outdoor tables, including in the Greek capital’s historic Plaka district.

Demonstrators in the northern city of Thessaloniki laid an empty coffin outside a government building, while protesters carried black balloons in the southern port of Patras. Brief clashes erupted at a rally in central Athens when police stopped protesters blocking traffic near the prime minister’s official residence.

Greece is currently reporting the highest numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases for the pandemic and the highest COVID-19 death rate in six months. The government has reimposed some restrictions targeting the roughly one-third of the population still not immune.

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The government’s public health advisors have recommended tightening capacity limits for businesses and other measures to control infections. Officials are due to decide later this week whether or not to implement the recommendations.

As part of stricter measures, private physicians could be obligated to work in the Public Health Service to cover staffing shortages.

Giorgos Kavathas, the leader of Greece’s largest small business association, said companies are seeking tax breaks and rent subsidies from the government.

“We support public health measures, but we also need help,” he told state television. “Let’s not forget that in the last 20 months, catering businesses have been closed for at least nine months, and others that don’t have outside customer premises have closed for 12 months. Money lost will never be recovered, so obviously we need to have a serious discussion “.

___ Follow Gatopoulos at https://twitter.com/dgatopoulos and Stavrakis at https://twitter.com/TStavrak

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