Greek authorities are examining ways to re-open shops on January 18, in efforts to revive the market which has remained closed due to extended lockdown measures aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.
The government said it would give retail the green light to operate with the click away method after a meeting this week between Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis, Alternate Minister Nikos Papathanasis, Secretary General for Trade and Consumer Protection Panagiotis Stampoulidis and Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) President George Karanikas.
Karanikas briefed the ministers on the massive losses suffered by small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) during the holiday season and called for the re-opening of retail and support action ahead of the winter sales period which has officially begun.
According to market insiders, coronavirus pandemic restrictions sunk retail sales activity in 2020 by 15 billion euros impacting for the most part very small, small and medium-sized enterprises. Business owners have repeatedly called on the government to take consistent measures as ongoing containment measures including curfews and total lockdowns are driving SMEs to despair.
According to reports, shops selling clothes, shoes and jewellery will be able to operate with the click in shop method allowing customers inside the stores. Remaining retail operations will use click away which involves purchasing items online or outside and paying only with credit card.
The final decision is expected to be announced on Friday after approval by the government’s Covid-19 crisis committee.
Georgiadis acknowledged the “massive problems of the market” and pledged to get the market going as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, food & beverage businesses will have to remain closed, said Papathanasis, adding that many operations were still active through delivery. Acknowledging the damages, the government, said Papathanasis, would assess and announce new support measures in the coming period.
“F&B services are very important and account for about 40 percent of the economy. The government will stand by the sector because it has been closed for a long time. It is however too early to talk about opening restaurants,” he added.
Papathanasis confirmed that new relief measures and a lending program aimed at supporting micro-enterprises with up to 50,000 euros were in the pipeline.