‘My patience is running out, and I’m tired and scared’

‘My patience is running out, and I’m tired and scared’

Three hours after the government had announced that sit-down cafes and restaurants would have to close, I had made the necessary changes to stay open. My cafe was completely disinfected and the seating area closed.

Since we already had a license to do deliveries, that seemed like an easy switch and a win-win for everyone: myself, my staff and our customers. It means I can keep working and pay at least some of my employees. We prepare everything on the menu, but instead of wearing the regular aprons, we wear masks inside and three of my servers put their helmets on and deliver to people’s doors by bike.

But I don’t know how long we can keep going. The orders are few, and almost no one orders food. They’re afraid. Also some say there will be no emergency benefits paid to restaurants that stay open.

Most people get coffee to go. I see on Instagram that some of them are taking their drinks home and to work, but a lot are enjoying them outside, on walks along the coast and such. While most locals are following the instructions to stay home, those moving around seem to be doing it for unnecessary reasons. They’re elderly people, tourists and people from Athens who come here for the clean air.

Aegina is full of holiday homes, and in the evening, you can tell that more people have arrived from the lights in the windows. That’s the only way you’ll notice though, because the stores that are still open are empty.

It’s frustrating to see people arrive from the city and move around. What if they get sick? We don’t have enough beds in our small hospital. My wife and my baby daughter stay at home, as do most families with kids.

* Thodoris Miras is a cafe owner on the Saronic island of Aegina. This article was edited by Paulina Bjork-Kapsalis.

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