Since reopening on May 25, following the nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus, restaurants and bars in Greece have reported enormous drops in revenue during their first week in business.
The intake of restaurants has dropped 80 percent, and fell 60 percent in bars, although constant rain this past week might also account for low numbers of customers, according to industry sources.
Additionally, industry figures show one in four restaurants or bars in Greece has yet to even reopen at all. The majority of the food and beverage vendors and establishments which remained closed are located on the Greek islands.
The draconian Greek restrictions on business establishments were somewhat eased on May 25, with restaurants and bars only allowed to serve customers sitting at tables outside their buildings.
The new figures were reported by Giorgos Kavvathas, president of the Panhellenic Federation of Restaurants. Kavvathas also said he expects improvements in revenues as the weather continues to improve.
Kavvathas added that the drop in revenues could also be attributed to the number of restaurant and bar customers who remain unemployed themselves at the present time.
“Restaurants that used to feed 300 people every day had no more than twelve customers. Some restaurants did not serve more than two to three people per day,” Kavvadas noted, as reported on the website keeptalkinggreece.com.
It was also noted that prices in restaurants and bars have not been reduced, although the nation’s Value Added Tax was cut per government decree, from 24 to 13 percent.
Kavvadas added that he does not expect restaurants and bars to reduce their prices.
“In my opinion, there will be no reduction in prices in our industry, with the exception of some individual cases. When VAT went up in 2016, we kept prices stable and absorbed the increase without passing the extra charge to customers,” he said.
Also, some 25 to 30 percent of restaurants in Greece have remained closed, as they are unable to offer outside seating, or only operate during the tourist season.
Not surprisingly, the news was not good for the hotel industry either. SKAI TV reported that only 20 percent of the nation’s hotels reopened on June 1 when restrictions were lifted, because there were not enough bookings to justify the expense involved in opening their doors for business.