Greece reopens cafes, restaurants as summer season nears

A waitress wearing a protective facemask and plastic gloves serves coffee at a cafe in central Athens on May 25, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 26 May 2020

Greece reopens cafes, restaurants as summer season nears

  • Travel to all the Greek islands was also restored on Monday

ATHENS: Greece allowed cafes and restaurants to reopen on Monday as part of a gradual lifting of its coronavirus restrictions to reboot its tourism-dependent economy and help draw in foreign visitors ahead of the summer season.

The country, which has emerged from a decade-long financial crisis in the last couple of years, is relying on tourism to help it recover from a nationwide lockdown that brought its economy to a near standstill.

With tables set far apart and waitresses wearing masks, restaurants served the many Greeks keen to get out and enjoy food and a cup of coffee again after roughly two months of confinement.

“We have missed this, this is psychological therapy for us, so of course it’s important, very, very important,” said Katerina Stravaridi from a cafe in Athens.

So far, the country has managed to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections to just 2,878 cases and 171 deaths — low numbers compared with elsewhere in the EU — mainly by imposing an early nationwide lockdown in March.

Athens mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said reopening the food services sector is a prelude for the summer holiday season.

“Greece is open and safe. It’s a destination where one can enjoy one’s holiday while at the same time securing one’s health,” he said.

Travel to all the Greek islands was also restored on Monday, with passenger ferries operating at 50 percent of their capacity, as the country prepares to reopen year-round hotels on June 1.

Seasonal hotels will be open from June 15, when some direct international flights from the Athens International Airport will also resume.


Conflict-hit Libya to restart oil operations but with low output

Updated 10 July 2020

Conflict-hit Libya to restart oil operations but with low output

  • There is significant damage to the reservoirs and infrastructure
  • A first cargo of 650,000 barrels will be shipped by the Kriti Bastion Aframax tanker

TUNIS: Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) lifted force majeure on all oil exports on Friday as a first tanker loaded at Es Sider after a half-year blockade by eastern forces, but said technical problems caused by the shutdown would keep output low.
“The increase in production will take a long time due to the significant damage to reservoirs and infrastructure caused by the illegal blockade imposed on January 17,” NOC said in a statement.
A first cargo of 650,000 barrels will be shipped by the Kriti Bastion Aframax tanker, chartered by Vitol, which two sources at Es Sider port said had docked and started loading on Friday morning.
The blockade, which was imposed by forces in eastern Libya loyal to Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), has cost the country $6.5 billion in lost export revenue, NOC said.
“Our infrastructure has suffered lasting damage, and our focus now must be on maintenance and securing a budget for the work to be done,” NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in the statement.
Control over Libya’s oil infrastructure, the richest prize for competing forces in the country, and access to revenues, has become an ever-more significant factor in the civil war.
The internationally recognized Government of National Accord, supported by Turkey, has recently pushed back the LNA, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt, from the environs of Tripoli and pushed toward Sirte, near the main oil terminals.