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Greek Gov’t Focuses on Ways to Reopen Restaurants Outdoors

Aiming to get the market going as the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic subsides, the Greek government is focusing on ways that will allow businesses active in the food and beverages industry to operate outdoors.

Greece entered the first of seven stages allowing free movement and the operation of retail businesses on May 4. According to the government’s plan, restaurants and cafes are scheduled to operate outdoors in stage 4 – from June 1.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Tuesday a plan with five ways to support F&B businesses which closed due to lockdown measures. The plan includes temporarily allowing operations outdoors; offering local authorities the flexibility to decide on way of operation; issuing regulations covering outdoor and indoor operations; businesses will not be charged for the use of increased outdoor seating space; and access will not be hindered to public or open-air spaces.

Athens, Greece. Photo Source: @Athens Attica

Athens, Greece. Photo Source: @Athens Attica

“We want to give businesses the opportunity to reopen fully respecting the health advice of experts but without implementing such strict restrictions that will make business itself impossible,” said Mitsotakis after announcing that the government was easing containment measures in place for two months.

Development Minister Nikos Papathanasis said relevant guidelines would be announced after May 18.

Meanwhile, Investments and Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said this week that the government was examining the possibility of reducing VAT on F&B in line with fiscal planning. The minister said measures for the tourism and F&B industry are expected in the coming days.

On their part, recreation and F&B business owners have called on the government to reduce VAT to 6 percent on food and 13 percent on coffee, to exempt F&B businesses of municipal fees and taxes and of public space use fees, and to offer businesses “restart capital”, among others.

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