The first big wave of food service business shutdowns has struck the market, as the sector has remained mostly inactive since early November and its return to action is not anticipated anytime soon.
In areas such as Kolonaki and Gazi in Athens, the center of Thessaloniki, and even tourism destinations such as Rhodes, many food service enterprises have already given up waiting and shut down for good.
Any prospects of a swift reopening of the sector were banished by the prime minister himself yesterday in Parliament, while the sector’s entrepreneurs have made it clear to the government that resuming their operation outdoors only is not sustainable. The mere fact that their representatives have set their next appointment with the development minister in the first 10 days of next month shows no news should be expected on that front over the next three weeks.
Giorgos Kavvathas, the head of the national federation of food service professionals as well as of Greece’s confederation of small businesses (GSEVEE), tells Kathimerini that about 40 enterprises in the sector (restaurants, cafés and bars) have shut down for good in the area of Kolonaki, mainly on Skoufa and Voukourestiou streets.
“Food service outlets, especially on Skoufa, operate mainly in the winter. The fact that they remained closed in March and April and then since November has resulted in their permanent closure. They are mostly small enterprises operated by the owners themselves. Of course Skoufa Street had been in relative decline even before the pandemic, but that aggravated the situation further,” a sector entrepreneur active in Kolonaki and on Mykonos told Kathimerini.
A similar picture can be observed in Gazi, mainly among enterprises that operated as bars or clubs, with more than 10 such businesses being up for rent. Some 40 companies in the sector have also shut down in the center of Thessaloniki, while enterprises have also closed permanently in the old town of Rhodes.
Shutdowns are also being seen in the Athens suburbs, such as Holargos, Agia Paraskevi, Halandri and Neo Psychico, even though they tried to turn to food delivery to remain in business.