Greek government promises more aid for businesses as small shops reopen

Photo: EPA Finance Minister Christos Staikouras

Greece will provide more financial aid to businesses hit by coronavirus restrictions in April, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Monday, as shops reopened despite surging Covid-19 case numbers, Reuters reported.

Lockdown measures imposed in November have caused growing discontent and left many businesses struggling to survive but Staikouras said Greece's ability to borrow on financial markets would enable the government to help. The €130m package would help around 100,000 businesses, including some 10,800 retailers, with financial assistance ranging from 1,000-4,000 euros, depending on the number of workers employed, Staikouras said.

Last week the government announced the easing of some restrictions to relieve widespread lockdown fatigue, allowing small retail shops selling non-essential goods to reopen, under so-called click-away and click-in-shopping modes. Under the rules, consumers will need to make appointments and comply with a three-hour limit for shopping and retailers cannot allow more than one customer per 25 square metres.

The measure excludes shopping malls and department stores in the Athens area which will remain closed and in three regions with severe infection levels, including the major northern city of Thessaloniki, shops will remain closed.

On Sunday Greece reported 1,955 new Covid-19 infections and 78 related deaths, bringing total infections to 275,414 and deaths to 8,380.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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