Business categories left out in the cold
Several corporate categories have been left out of the support measures the government has announced to lessen the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, even though this support has been expanded. In most cases this concerns small and very small enterprises, which account for thousands of workers, as well as enterprises whose owners have no alternative source of income.
Typical examples are enterprises selling coffee and other drinks, sandwiches, pastries etc which have not been closed by government decree but have seen their revenues plummet.
As in the case of thousands of food service chains, this is about corporations that have not benefited from being able to pay just 60 percent of their commercial property rent for March and April. This is because they are partially allowed to keep operating, in the sense they can offer takeaway or delivery services. Excluding food service chains, it is estimated that this category accounts for 5,000 enterprises that employ a total of about 15,000 people.
Representatives of this category of professionals told Kathimerini that about 50 percent of the companies in this sector have shut down. The rest are operating with a reduction in turnover of at least 70 percent, and the work is being done mainly by the owners themselves, as most of the staff have had their contracts suspended.
Many small e-commerce companies that have no bricks-and-mortar stores are also in a very difficult position. These enterprises, in their majority, have an activity code number (KAD) that describes retail sales of specialized commodities by mail or the internet and enjoy no support whatsoever. The opposite is happening with medium-sized and large enterprises that also have a conventional shops, besides their online stores, and are under the support of the protective measures due to the suspension of their shop’s operation.
Online sales in some categories may have skyrocketed due to the travel restrictions, but there are also some stores whose turnover is next to zero. These include online stores for wedding and christening products: “Over the last 30 days we have not made any sales at all, and do not expect to do so in the next couple of months either,” the owner of one such company told Kathimerini.