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Greeks take pleasure as cafes and restaurants opened again

Grande premiere. Cafes and restaurants opened again in Greece on Monday after 73 days of shut down due to the pandemic. However, nothing is as it used to be. Health protocols are implemented, tables and chairs stand at distance to each other, waiters are wearing masks and gloves. Customers do not mind. They are eager to enjoy their coffee again at a proper table with proper service and chat with friends.

The first to rush as quickly as it was possible to a cafe or -kafeneio in the Greek old men tradition – were the senior men in our neighborhood. One by one, left their home on Monday morning, some with the aid of a stock and  walked to their favorite coffee house. From our balcony, I could see one after the other walking down the street to the two cafes that opened again in our area.

89-year-old Mr Panogiotis had told me the other day that he was anticipating for the re-opening because “the stone benches at the square were much too hard” for him.

Two friends of mine who also live nearby, they had make their appoint as early as 10 o’ clock in the morning.

“There is a big difference between a take away and sit on a bench and sit on a proper chair and a waiter bring your coffee in a proper cup,” said one of them.

When I asked her how was the new hygiene habits, she said, she had the feeling the coffee was served by a …surgeon.

Coffee, chat and watching passersby is the number one national socializing hobby in Greece. In this sense Greeks are happy again to be allowed to enjoy this little pleasure after weeks of restrictions and distress about the pandemic.

Only this time, things were different, with the tables in “coronavirus” safety distance to each other and antiseptics.

Chania, Crete

From North to the South and from East to West, Greeks enjoyed their coffee in some areas with sunshine and in others under a cloudy sky.

Trikala

Volos

Larissa

Patras

Thessaloniki

Cafe owners told media that customers …. was not overwhelming, maybe because it was a Monday morning and people had returned to work, or because people are still cautious due to the pandemic.

Currently only cafes, bars and restaurants with outdoor space can accept customers.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited cafes in Piraeus on Monday morning, checked whether everything was operating according to the rules and asked customers whether they were pleased.

PS Of course, they were.

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