Greek Cafes, Restaurants Reopen After Lockdown



View from roof garden cafe of the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Athens Photo: Creative Commons / Maria Vazoura

Greece’s cafes and restaurants are reopening for business on Monday after a long hiatus, as they closed just over two months ago due to the coronavirus curfews, home quarantines and the strict preventive measures imposed by health authorities against the pandemic.

However, three in ten cafes or restaurants might not open on Monday, Nikos Nifoudis, of the Thessaloniki Catering Initiative told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) on Saturday.

He explained that only about 2,000 such businesses in the municipality of Thessaloniki are licensed to place tables and seats outdoors. On the other hand, he said, some of these are likely to continue to operate as take-aways while they observe how similar businesses will fare in the coming days.

“The sector is very anxious to see how returning to business will play out,” Nifoudis stressed, “because no one can predict how confident customers are to return to cafes and restaurants, while the running costs of any such establishment remains high regardless of serving ten or fifty customers at any one time,” he added.

Another concern that perplexes owners in the broader catering sector is the reduced spending power many people might be facing as a result of the pandemic, he underlined.

Cafes and restaurants will open with some restrictions in place, including a distance of between 70 cm to 1.7 meters between seats and a maximum of six seated customers.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Development & Investments Nikos Papathanassis on Saturday evening said that the interiors of cafes and restaurants that reopen on Monday will not be allowed to seat customers before the first half of June.

Papathanassis was speaking in an interview with ANT1 TV station and he added that specific regulations will determine particular aspect of reopening these businesses.