In the trendy Koukaki district, a discus throw from the Acropolis in Athens, owners of restaurants that have survived the virus lockdown are trying to keep themselves occupied as the weather and the noises from government improve.
“Everyone is frantically cleaning their storefronts, just to keep busy,” says Elena, who sells ouzo, the popular anise-flavoured alcoholic drink, to the restaurateurs.
She is wandering the streets to see how many of the restaurants have managed to avoid going out of business.
Some five months after the Greek government ordered a restaurant shutdown in November as coronavirus cases began to increase, operators and their staff have been burning up both their financial and psychological reserves. “We have borrowed money and spend less. We have learned to live on little since the economic crisis,” says Koukaki restaurant owner Venetia Avgerinou, referring to the ten-year debt crisis Greece has just exited.
His restaurant was only allowed to open for four months last year. Since November, all ten staff members have been put on a government partial employment scheme.