After six months of pandemic closure, Greek restaurants and cafes reopened their terraces on Monday, with customers flocking to enjoy the sunshine and a return to “normal life.”
Andreas Riminiotis, a retiree savouring the ambience at the Da Capo cafe in Athens, joked, “Today I feel like I’m alive again, like I’ve been reborn. I used to come here every day to drink coffee and chat with my friends until the cafes closed in November. It was my favourite way to pass the time, the cure for all ills,” he said, adding that he was looking forwards to getting back to “normal life.”
The reopening was all the more poignant and joyful because it occurred only one day after Orthodox Christians in Greece celebrated Easter, which commemorates Christ’s resurrection. Since November, Greece has been subject to Covid-19 prohibitions, which include varying degrees of curfew. Greece has been struck especially hard by the third outbreak of the pandemic, with the bulk of the country’s nearly 10,000 virus deaths occuring in the last few months.
In Greece, 330,000 people are estimated to work in the restaurant industry, and only cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating were allowed to reopen on Monday.
Greece, whose economy is heavily reliant on tourism, has accelerated its vaccination campaign in preparation for the summer season, with everyone over the age of 30 now qualifying for the vaccine.
In a population of 10.8 million people, there are reportedly 345,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 10,400 deaths.