Cafes and tavernas strike over pandemic restrictions

Cafes and tavernas strike over pandemic restrictions

Many districts of Athens and Thessaloniki appeared desolate on Tuesday, as did other parts of the country, with a record number of restaurants and cafes shutting the doors to protest against the government’s announcement of restrictive measures for the unvaccinated.

They are also seeking more financial relief from the government due to the effects of the pandemic, which has pounded the sector over the last two years.

According to the Panhellenic Federation of Restaurants and Related Professions (POESE), the participation of professionals in the 24-hour mobilization was over 90%, reaching 100% some areas of Greece.

In Athens typical examples were the usually bustling Nea Smyrni Square, which was eerily quiet, as were popular areas in the northern suburbs, such as Agia Paraskevi, Holargos and Kifissia.

There was also a high participation observed in Iraklio on Crete, Nafplio, Larissa, Xanthi, Komotini and Livadia.

Delivery platforms, such as Wolt and Efood, also took part in the strike.

In remarks to state-run TV, Giorgos Kavathas, leader of Greece’s largest small business association, said demands include tax breaks and rent subsidies.

“We support the public health measures but we also need assistance as catering businesses were closed for at least nine of the last 20 months and others without outdoor customer spaces were closed for 12 months,” he said, adding that the money that was lost will never be regained “so clearly we need to have a serious discussion.” 

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