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Greek Covid-19 Support Measures Get Extension

The Hellenic Parliament, Syntagma Square. Photo © GTP

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday announced extended relief measures to lessen the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which include rent exemptions and employee subsidies.

Mitsotakis made the announcement in parliament ahead of plans to re-open retail on Monday provided he gets the go-ahead from the country’s Covid-19 crisis committee.

The PM said the measures – the extension of a reduction in rents for affected parties into February and the extension for two months of expired unemployment benefits – were aimed at alleviating households and society.

Regarding the rent reduction, Greek businesses forced to remain closed through to January 15 due to extended lockdown measures will not be required to pay rent for the month of February.

Property owners will be compensated with 80 percent of the agreed upon monthly rent, and not on the loss. According to the decision, the cost of rent will be shared: 80 percent by the state and 20 percent by the owner.

In addition, legal entities that lease real estate to companies will be reimbursed with 60 percent of the monthly rent for February.

The rent reduction decision applies to retail, catering, culture and sports services, tourism  – including hotels, accommodation facilities, travel agencies – and transport enterprises, hairdressers, beauty salons, bookstores and businesses that remained closed by state order until January 15.

“Each month of lockdown measures cost the Greek economy over 3 billion euros,” Mitsotakis said, explaining why “the time has come to gradually take the risk and gradually re-open the economy, if experts advise.”

The PM stressed the importance of conforming to the health and safety rules. Fines for violations currently stand at 300 euros and the government is considering increasing the amount if rules are not followed.

ECDC map

The prime minister said Greece had so far managed to overcome the holidays “without major disruption” and referred to a Covid-19 risk indicator map of the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) released this week in which Greece is the only country in Europe with low risk areas specified in green. These areas are the Epirus region in northwestern Greece and the Ionian and Aegean islands.

The prime minister said the next steps included maintaining preventative measures, restarting the economy with targeted restrictions, and pushing forward with vaccinations. He also referred to free rapid testing options.

Lastly, he said it was possible for a considerable segment of the population to have been vaccinated by summer.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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