OPINION

Protecting our positive image

protecting-our-positive-image

The same international broadcasters and newspapers that have hailed Greece for its management of the coronavirus will be quick to point out any problems that may arise over the summer.

The same people at BBC, CNN and other major networks with global reach who raised Greece’s image will slam the country if scenes of dangerous overcrowding continue at bars and on beaches, and especially if infections continue to rise.

What they will be doing, of course, is nothing more than their job, reporting on the situation, just as they did in June in their exceptionally positive reports on the effective management of the health crisis by the Greek authorities and the responsible stance adopted by the Greek people.

Just as that positive image was important in restarting tourism activity – the latter will not even reach half of what it was last year, but at least there is hope that some of the economic damage will be minimized – so too a negative portrayal of the country would have a very harmful impact on one of the main pillars of the Greek economy.

Even though the majority of new cases are located in Attica, Thessaloniki and Kavala, it is obvious that the islands are also at risk. Targeted crackdowns in destinations where violations have been rampant, like Mykonos, Santorini and Paros, are a step in the right direction, but they will not make the problem go away.

Whether Greece is on the brink of a second wave of the pandemic is something for the experts to decide, but the signs in recent days are worrying.

The government is intensifying inspections and imposing new restrictions like the mandatory use of masks in all indoor public areas and even on open ferry decks, banning standing room at clubs and so on. However, we all bear our own responsibility in the battle for maintaining our good image – which is crucial given Greece’s reliance on tourism.

The very good results from the first battle with the pandemic were due in large to the responsible behavior of citizens. To save our positive image and avoid a devastating new lockdown, the government, local authorities and the people all need to show the same responsible attitude.