The economy and health should find a way to co-exist in order to ensure the survival of businesses, according to the president of GSEVEE, George Kavvathas.
According to the data from the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), the current situation is irreversible for too many companies.
"4 out of 10 companies have zero cash levels and are facing the possibility of shutting down. We have reached our limits," said Kavvathas, adding that " two out of 10 companies have enough cash for a month. Only 16% of businesses have cash for more than a month. We have the toughest lockdown in the EU."
In comments to state TV ERT, Kavvathas, described the desperate situation faced by retailers, pushing for the retail trade to open as March.
"The economy loses about 2 billion euros every month and this has negative consequences for state tax revenues. We are all waiting for the retail trade to open on Monday, March 1st. We have overcrowding in many other parts of everyday life and not in the retail that operates following all the health rules with click inside and click away. Click inside is a process that is safe for small stores," he said.
"Simultaneously with the lockdown and its extension, the state should put its hand deep in its pocket to support retail businesses. Economy and health must find a common component. We can no longer afford it and the catastrophe will not only be at the level of health but also at the level of psychology and the life of the people themselves," said Kavvathas.
Shortly afterwards, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told cabinet members that the country’s lockdown will continue into March due to the high number of daily cases.
“Yesterday we saw a sharp increase in cases, especially in Attica, which de facto removes our intention, always listening to the instructions of experts, to proceed to a gradual opening on March 1st. But the main message we need to send is that we need to stay very focused on the measures that we know work,” Mitsotakis told ministers.
Kavvathas went on to describe the financial conditions in the restaurant business as being tragic. "In the area of catering, the situation is tragic, our stamina has been exhausted. The industry is now completely destroyed. I sent a letter yesterday to the relevant ministers saying that a financial tool should be found to restart the catering industry. There is no money to restart the market,” he said.