Setting a specific date as well as defining mode of operation are among the recommendations made by the Athens Traders Association (ESA) so as to ensure the smooth re-opening of Athens shops ahead of the holiday season.
In letter this week to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, ESA President Stavros Kafounis is proposing that:
– all Athens stores open simultaneously and not specific sectors only, “which inevitably creates injustices and conditions of unfair competition”
– setting Friday 11 December as the official opening date if health experts give the green light so that the weekend can absorb some of the traffic
– facilitating business operation with alternative safety measures in view of the fact that the majority of retail stores are unable to operate by appointment only, click away methods or through the digital channels
– targeted safety regulations and ensuring the observance of rules
– making a timely announcement of the terms covering market operations so that business owners can plan accordingly
– boosting frequency of public transport routes to facilitate the safe movement of employees and consumers.
In the letter Kafounis also recommends the further extension of relief measures already announced by the government, including a 20 percent debt reduction rewarding consistent payers; the deferral of tax and insurance contributions as well as payment of debts; the reduction of rents by 40 percent; the establishment of a four-month subsidy program for employers’ contributions after stores’ final opening; the suspension of loan instalments until March 2021; and making special arrangements for utilities debts.
“Once again we see the private sector alone bearing the full financial burden of the health crisis. Support measures during the pandemic and until the economy returns to normal should focus more on the survival of small and micro enterprises,” said Kafounis.