Angry shopkeepers in Achaia, Thessaloniki, Kozani: “We will open without permission”

Owners of outlets in Thessaloniki, Achaea and Kozani are unhappy with the decision of the authorities prohibit opening shops from Monday. In the morning, posters with protest slogans and statements that they will open despite the ban have been hung in the windows.

During the briefing last week, it was announcedthat from April 5, retail trade in non-food products will open using the “click away” and “click a shop” methods. However on Friday the decision changedwhen it was clarified that in the so-called. shops will not open in dark red areas. This angered the merchants, who denounced the practice, pointing out that they had already prepared and purchased goods to open their stores.

Protest action in Patras

Shops in Patras have been participating in a symbolic protest since the early morning, keeping the doors open and the lights on, but not serving customers.

Some shopkeepers displayed a message about the funeral in their windows. Hinting at the death of their business.

“The stores in Patras are closed for three months,” the store owner said in an interview with Greece’s state-run ERT television channel.

“We have said, and continue to say, that retail is not the source of the increase in viral load. All our colleagues comply with the measures, there is no overcrowding at small and medium-sized retail outlets, ”he stressed.

According to the owner of the store, traders “waited for the easing of measures” and “resented” the cancellation of this decision. “On Friday evening, while we were ordering goods, the decision was suspended, and the arguments of the businessmen did not convince him to cancel it.”

Concerning help, announced today by Minister of Finance Christos Staikuras, he noted that “it is very small. It doesn’t solve the problem. ”

“We will open from today”

The same assessment help given by the owner of a shop from Polyhni (Thessaloniki), where the protest is also being extended. “You can’t buy me for 2,000, 5,000 or 10,000 euros,” the merchant said, asking “to open stores so that they have equal rights with other stores.”

Symbolic protest of merchants in Polyhni, Thessaloniki © Photo: SOOC / Konstantinos Tsakalidis

When asked if they were going to open their stores, he stressed that the top “understands” this, and noted that it can be done today. “We cannot be bought,” he repeated, adding: “We will resist discrimination.”

He concluded by saying that store owners will wait for a reaction because there is “no logic” in what is happening. It is noted that the commercial association “Evosmos” announced that it does not intend to open stores, but, apparently, local associations will make their decisions.

In the Polichny district, shopkeepers posted black flags and posters demanding the opening of their stores.

Symbolic protest by traders in Polyhni (Thessaloniki) over the government’s decision to extend the retail suspension in three regional units (Thessaloniki, Achaia, Kozani), 5 April 2021. / © Konstantinos Tsakalidis

“We are not beggars”: with these words the president of the Kordelio-Evosmos Commercial Association, Kostas Vassiliadis, who represents about 2,000 companies, responds to the statements of Mr. Staikuras.

“He will give us 5-10 thousand euros to keep us closed? This is absurd! This is all going in the wrong direction and they have to take action because the market is not responsible for what is happening. And I will tell you two main arguments: at Evosmos we are closed for 2.5 months. Are we to blame for the increase in cases? But you (the government) are now listening to infectious disease specialists and saying that “those who propose” are to blame? Why on December 15, when you did not listen to them and opened the market, we did not have an increase in cases? “Because, simply put, a market that operates in accordance with the rules, and especially small and medium-sized enterprises, is not responsible. And not the multinational corporations that display their goods on the streets of Tsimiski and Ermou in Athens, “Mr. Vassiliadis said in an interview with Sputnik, adding that there is only one demand:” Immediately cancel the decision and open our stores. “

Thessaloniki Municipal Council is reported to have an emergency meeting today at 18:00 with the only topic of discussion: “The progress of the retail business and support for entrepreneurs in Thessaloniki in connection with the ongoing crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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