Greeks are more frightened of becoming unemployed or impoverished than they are of contracting Covid-19, a new survey published by the University of the Aegean has found.
Conducted by professors Sotiris Chtouris and Anastasia Zisi from April 6-22 with data collected from the online SurveyBot platform, the survey found that 56.4% of respondents pointed to poverty and unemployment as the biggest dangers in the pandemic, 26.7% pointed to becoming ill and just 4.8% were worried that they may lose someone close to them to the disease.
Highlighting the social impacts of restrictions imposed in March to stem the spread of the coronavirus in Greece, which has performed better than most European countries, the survey found that what people seemed to miss most during the lockdown was their friends (63.5%), their cultural outings (60%), going out for shopping and entertainment (59%) and going out for coffee and socializing (53%).
In terms of what aspects of their lives they would like to improve following the experience of the lockdown, 66.5% of respondents cited their personal life and wellbeing as their top priority, 63% wished to develop better skills in dealing with their everyday lives and 55% with their work, 60% expressed a desire to engage in more volunteer work and 58.4% in artistic and other cultural pursuits, while 47% said they plan to invest in improving their family relations and 34% in starting a new business.
Asked their views on the situation at the time of the survey – which came during one of the toughest periods of the lockdown, when most Greeks had to eschew their usual Easter custom of spending the holidays in their ancestral villages and with family – just 5.6% of respondents said that they viewed the pandemic as an opportunity; 35% had a “negative” view of the situation and 19% a “very negative” one.
“Coming after the social experience of the recent economic crisis, which harmed young people in particular, the pandemic has ended the prospect of migration to job markets looking for specialized personnel, but also the possibility of seasonal work in the sector of tourism, which was a significant outlet and opportunity during the 10-year crisis,” noted Chtouris.
“The publicity given to the health issues overshadowed aspects of reality that we need to be aware of in order to acquire real opportunities and plans that will get us out of the crisis. Greece did very well in protecting society from the coronavirus, but it also needs to do well in regrouping society after its return to life,” he added.