Apart from the impact on students, the extended shutdown of schools has also had a devastating effect on privately run canteens, with thousands of workers unable to pay utility bills, social security contributions and a few even left homeless.
“We are talking about 8,500 small businesses, which support families and very often support single-parent households,” said Myrto Demiri, who runs a school canteen and is a member of a committee set up to save businesses like hers.
“Especially in Athens, Thessaloniki and other big cities, canteens are the sole source of income” for many households, she told Kathimerini. “On average, we have worked for 50 days in the last 12 months,” she said, noting that canteens have been shut since last March 10, with brief intervals in between.
School canteen tenants are asking for municipalities to grant at least a 40% discount on rent as an immediate measure to save the industry.