Ministry extends supermarket hours, cracks down on profiteering

Ministry extends supermarket hours, cracks down on profiteering

Supermarkets will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays under new emergency legislation that will go into force on Thursday as part of the government’s bid to ease the challenges arising from measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

During a visit to an Athens supermarket on Wednesday morning, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said that the extended hours may have to remain in place for several weeks if the situation demands it and thanked supermarket employees across the country for their hard work.

“Together and with discipline, we can win this battle,” he told staff at a supermarket in the Athens district of Galatsi, while his deputy, Nikos Papathanasis, called on supermarket owners to hire more staff to help existing personnel cope with the longer hours.

The ministry is also introducing stiff new fines for businesses that are found guilty of profiteering by over-charging for products that are in high demand among consumers right now, such surgical masks, antiseptic sprays, gels and wipes, and baby formula.

According to sources, businesses will have to set their profit margins according to what they were making on the given products at the end of February. Any profits made above that margin will be treated as profiteering, according to the ministry. Fines for such violations will range from 1,000 to 1 million euros.

The ministry is also seeking to halt telemarketing advertisements for over-priced products related to the epidemic.