Bar owners arrested and fined on Greek islands

Six business owners were arrested and fined over the weekend, after they were found operating their bars and restaurants past the midnight curfew.

It is recalled last week, the Greek government announced a series of new emergency measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The new rules include food or catering sector-related shops (restaurants, bars, bouzoukia etc.) shutting between midnight and 7am in several regions including Thessaloniki.

The government also extended a ban on standing customers in all bars, clubs, live music venues, bar-restaurants and cafe-bars until August 31.

Among those arrested, two stores owners on Corfu and one on Paxi islands operated their stores past the 12-midnight curfew. Each was fined €10,000 and their stores’ operation suspended for three days.

Arrests, fines ranging from €3,000-€10,000 and store suspensions of 3 to 15 days were imposed on store owners on Zakynthos and Corfu for similar reasons including store crowding.

Smaller fines of €150 were also imposed on 25 store owners on Corfu and Kefalonia for non-use of facial mask.

Some owners of food or catering sector-related shops on the Greek islands, have voiced their anger over the virus restrictions implemented amid the peak of the Greek tourism season.

“You can’t take a unilateral decision and shut down the island the following day, at midnight,” bar owner Stavros Grimplas told the Associated Press.

“Everyone has come (to Mykonos) to eat their food, to entertain themselves, swim in the sea. At this moment, we are fooling them. We told them ‘come to Greece’ and Greece has shut down. When Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis officially declared the tourist season open on June 13, he had said that “there is no risk-free approach,” Grimplas added.

Businesses are opening earlier to compensate. Owners have signed an angry letter accusing the government of wanting “to render us mere spectators of the destruction of our businesses.” They also demanded to know the data that prompted that decision and asked why the government is not stopping the “illegal parties … that will blow up the pandemic.”

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