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Retail, food sectors up in arms over new measures; PM rules out new lockdown

"We are facing a fourth wave, which primarily concerns the unvaccinated", said Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. He ruled out a new lock down, adding that he does not believe the pandemic is out of control in Greece.

The government’s recent announcements introducing stricter measures for those that have not been vaccinated, limiting their access to restaurants and retail stores, have prompted strong reactions from the sectors

S. Kafounis: Heavy burden for retail trade

"The weight on retail is asymmetric from the new measures", noted the president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, Stavros Kafounis, in a statement, after the announcement of the new measures. In addition, Kafounis stated: "Retail trade since the beginning of the pandemic has taken with great seriousness both the financial and the health challenges, respecting all health protocols. We have all agreed that the sector was never a source of transmission and no one in the past has questioned the safe environment inside stores. Therefore, the requirement for consumers to be controlled by store employees is impossible and unfortunately this measure will worsen the economic environment, at a time when market optimism is gradually returning."

G. Kavvathas: There was no need for new measures

For his part, George Kavvathas, President of the Panhellenic Federation of Restaurants and Related Professions (POESE) and GSEVEE in comments to daily Kathimerini, stressed that the new measures were not necessary, at least at the level applied, if vaccination certificates were effectively checked. He added that the rate of violations in the catering sector is particularly low and added that controls especially in regional areas will be much more difficult to conduct than those in urban centers.

The latest measures

The rising number of cases has led to additional measures, moves to strengthen the national health system and protect vaccinated citizens, according to Health Minister Thanos Plevris.

As of Saturday, the following measures apply:

  • All workers not vaccinated in the private and public sectors, as well as in the churches, need to undergo two rapid or Pcr tests per week in order to attend work.
  • Regarding the entrance to public services, shopping malls and shops, hairdressers, banks and entertainment venues, the negative rapid or pcr test for the entry of unvaccinated citizens will now be mandatory.
  • The unvaccinated can enter supermarkets, places of worship and pharmacies without showing proof of a negative test.

Plevris explained that controls are being intensified in all entertainment venues, and as he stressed, the measures will be implemented. At the same time, the penalties for business owners who do not comply with the rules will be doubled

Lockdown ruled out

Speaking in an interview to MEGA TV yesterday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, ruled out a new lock down, adding that he does not believe the pandemic is out of control in Greece.

"We are facing a fourth wave, which primarily concerns the unvaccinated", said Mitsotakis. Comparing the situation to a year ago, he stressed that today 73% of adults and 63% of the population have been vaccinated and that lockdowns were the answer before the vaccination. "Now that we have the vaccine, we are not going to lockdown. I am adamant for the simple reason that at the moment three out of four have done the right thing and it would be unfair to impose restrictions at a huge cost to tackle a problem relating to the minority. No European country is following this tactic," he said.

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