Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday announced an extension of the government program to support businesses through July and targeted tax cuts, as part of a plan to revive tourism and other sectors hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The tax cuts include lowering the VAT in public transport fares, open-air cinema ticket prices, coffee and non-alcoholic beverages to 13 percent from 24 percent from June 1 until October 31.
“I never hid the fact that the fight for life will have a heavy economic impact. Besides, all over the world the cost is already huge,” he said in a televised address.
“Especially for Greece, the risk is probably greater. Not only because the crisis is hitting key sectors, such as tourism and catering. But also because the pandemic halted the country’s course at a time when it was rapidly entering a path of development,” he added.
Mitsotakis noted that January and February were “excellent months” for the Greek economy, but “they seem to be so far away.”
“We must, therefore, pick up the thread of progress, so that from model state in the defense against the virus, we can become a model state in the return to prosperity.”
The government will also subsidise the salaries and social security contributions for workers in the tourism sector and will pay unemployment benefits to seasonal employees who will not be hired this year.
The prime minister also announced that the tourism season will officially begin on June 15 and international flights on July 1. Health officials will conduct sample coronavirus tests at the airport.