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Greece to Open Restaurants, Cafes with Safety Regulations in May

Greek restaurants, cafes, bars and F&B services are set to open outdoors on May 3 after Orthodox Easter with protocols to be announced in the coming days, said Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary-General Panagiotis Stamboulidis this week.

Stamboulidis underlined that the ultimate aim of the regulations is to prepare the market for a return to normalcy in safety. “We want measures that can be implemented, not complex actions,” he said.

At the same time, restaurateurs on Friday expressed their disappointment with the government’s decision to reopen the sector after Easter, stressing that many they do not have the necessary liquidity to stock up their businesses.

In a letter to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Circle of F&B Professionals (KEE) is requesting among others that debts to the public be subsidized and that dining inside be allowed to customers who have negative self-tests.

They go on to note that the government has no plan and did not consult with industry representatives for the reopening.

How restaurants, cafes will operate

Under the current announcement based on last year’s standards, cafes, bars and restaurants:

-will be able to operate only outdoors

-all customers must be seated as standing is not allowed 

-tables will be placed widely apart to ensure safe distancing with no more than 6 people per table

-more public space (ie on squares or pedestrian walkways) for tables/chairs has be allocated

-employees will be required to self-test once a week and wear face masks at all times

-there will be an 11pm-5am curfew in place.

Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis said the government decided to open F&B services earlier than initially planned in order to ensure a test period ahead of the May 15 opening to tourism.

Lastly, Stamboulidis and Georgiadis both said they expect the mandatory text message for movement (in effect since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic) to most likely be scrapped.

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