Business owners flouting Covid-19 restrictions slapped with jail time, fines


The owners of two businesses that flouted restrictions imposed by the government to contain the spread of the new coronavirus were found guilty by an Athens court on Tuesday. They were each fined 300 euros and convicted to a year in prison from a maximum sentence of five years.

The arrest came after the Supreme Court last week ordered prosecutors to treat the failure to abide by state-imposed restrictions as a crime on the grounds that it endangers public health.

Another 27 suspects who faced the same Athens court on Tuesday asked for an extension.

All 29 suspects were arrested on Sunday in a fast-track process known as “aftoforo,” after being caught in the act of violating orders to shut down bars, cafes, restaurants and other businesses that are not essential during the clampdown on commercial activity.

Their cases took up most of the court’s docket, which counted just 31 cases on Tuesday. Courts have scaled back on hearings as part of the effort to contain the virus.

In the meantime, the Greek Polic (ELAS) on Tuesday said that it arrested another 16 business owners on Monday for similar offenses.