COVID-19: Unease In Greece As Restaurants, Cafes Reopen

A waitress wearing a protective facemask and plastic gloves stands on the terrace of a cafe in central Athens on May 25, 2020, as cafes, bars, restaurants reopen two months after their closure due to epidemic COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus. ARIS MESSINIS / AFP.


Restaurants and cafes across Greece opened ahead of schedule Monday as the country prepared to launch a shortened tourism season vital to its economy.

But with social distancing rules limiting businesses to around 50 percent capacity, and only outdoor tables allowed, many owners questioned the wisdom of reopening after lockdown of over two months.

“We have to disinfect everything all the time… we’d have to hire someone to clean up and keep track of the customers… but are unable to do that,” cafe owner Vangelis Daskalopoulos told AFP in Athens.

“I don’t know how we’re going to manage,” he said, adding that he was torn between his fear of the virus and the need to keep his business running.

In cafes like his, a mandatory minimum distance of between 70 cm (28 inches) to 1.7 meters (5.5 feet) between seats is required, and a maximum of six seated customers per table is allowed.

Despite the misgivings of some like Daskalopoulos, patrons were happy for the chance socialise in cafes again.

“I’m thrilled to break the isolation of recent months and reconnect with friends,” said pensioner Giorgos Karavatsanis.

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“The cafe in Greece has a social dimension, it’s where the heart of the district beats,” he said.

But some three in 10 cafes or restaurants were predicted to stay closed out of fear of slow business, Nikos Nifoudis of the Thessaloniki Catering Initiative told Athens News Agency over the weekend

“The sector is very anxious to see how returning to business will play out… no one can predict how confident customers are to return to cafes and restaurants,” he said.

– Flights to resume –

Eateries were originally slated to open June 1, but the slow spread of the pandemic in Greece allowed the date to be moved forward.

The country of 11 million has so far recorded fewer than 180 coronavirus deaths.

Since May 4, Greece has progressively opened tourism-related businesses following a lockdown imposed in March to stave off an economic contraction that could reach 13 percent of output this year.

Paid beaches opened on May 16, while ferry travel to the islands was permitted on Monday. Year-round hotels are to resume operations on June 1, followed by seasonal hotels on June 15.

Flights into Athens will restart on June 15, and to the rest of Greece’s regional and island airports on July 1.

But Daskalopoulos is worried about the risks incoming travellers may pose.

“People will come from countries that have a greater number of infections (than Greece’s) and will not even be checked,” he said.

The EU has said holidaymakers could be asked to wear face masks on planes, respect social distancing on the beach and even book slots to use hotel pools.

Greece had initially wanted incoming tourists to submit to tests at least 72 hours before travel, but Brussels frowned at the suggestion.

Athens now says it will not require travellers to undergo virus testing or quarantine, but sample tests will be carried out for epidemiological purposes.

Restaurants were shuttered on March 14, two days after Greece recorded its first COVID-19 death, with only takeout food and delivery allowed.


EU To Partner With Anambra First Lady On Water, Sanitation

European-Union-and-Ebelechukwu-ObianoA joint team from the European Union and UNICEF are seeking partnership with the wife of Anambra State Governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, in the area of sanitation and hygiene to tackle the issue of open defecation identified in two Local Government Areas in the state.

The leader of the delegation, Dr. Kabiru Abbass made the request at a meeting between the team and Governor Willie Obiano, who received them on behalf of his wife at the Governor’s lodge in Amawbia.

At the meeting, the joint delegation also announced the nomination of the Governor’s wife as EU-UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, Ambassador.

With a growing population, sanitation and hygiene, have become serious concerns and the state government has initiated projects to tackle the sanitation needs like the road sweeping and drainage de-silting projects with provision of equipment to improve operations.

Also, the pet project of the wife of the Governor, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), that targets the welfare of the less privileged, the physically challenged, women and children also undertook some measures in the area of provision of water, sanitation and hygiene projects in market places and for some widows.

This contribution, however, drew the attention of the European Union and the UNICEF to which they sought partnership with CAFÉ to enhance the war against open defecation status in Anambra East and Aguata.

The EU and UNICEF team visited Anambra State Governor to intimate him of the endorsement of the wife’s programme, intention for partnership and her nomination as WASH ambassador.

Mrs Obiano Commissions Modern Bungalows In Anambra

Ebelechukwu-Obiano-AnambraWife of Anambra State Governor, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, has commissioned modern bungalows built for two indigent widows in two communities of the state.

During the commissioning on Monday, Mrs Obiano explained that the Housing for Indigent Widows Programme is a continuation of the initiative of her pet project, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE).

The programme targets giving succour to indigent widows, catering to the less privileged and creating a sense of belonging amongst the physically challenged persons.

The Governor’s wife assured the residents that the Willie Obiano-led administration would strive to ensure the spread of dividends of democracy to every citizen of Anambra State.

She called for the spirit of friendship, stressing that the project has met the needs of the less privileged irrespective of party affiliations.

Mrs Obiano added that more widows would benefit from the housing project in which at least 10 indigent widows have already benefitted.

She said that the project was sponsored by well-meaning citizens of Anambra State whom she reached out to help support the mission.

The two beneficiaries of the project, Mrs Chinyeaka Okeke, and Mrs Margaret Anoyou, were full of praises for the unexpected gesture, saying their lives have changed forever.

The event was rounded off at Nteje in Oyi and Mbaukwu in Awka South local government areas where modern conveniences were also commissioned in the markets.

Obiano’s Wife Donates Wheelchairs To Physically Challenged Persons

Mrs Obiano Donates Wheelchairs To Physically Challenged PersonsEighty physically challenged persons have received wheelchairs from the Wife of Anambra State Governor, Ebelechukwu Obiano, to support their mobility.

During the presentation at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia, Mrs Obiano said her priority was to use her pet project, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), to identify the challenges facing the less privileged in the society, find solutions and impact positively on their lives.

She reassured the beneficiaries that her pet project would be a vehicle with which to undertake more capacity building programmes as well as educational training to promote self-reliance among the physically challenged.

Mrs Obiano appealed to them never to use the wheel chairs given to them to engage in begging as it would be degrading, but urged them to make use of the stipends given them to support themselves.

She further stressed that aside the contributions of her pet project, the gesture was also made possible by the assistance and support of philanthropists, corporate bodies and donor agencies.

The wife of the state’s Deputy Governor, Mrs Oby Okeke and the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Victoria Chikwelu, commended Mrs Obiano for her passion for the indigent and disabled persons in the society, which she also extended to Basic School Isulo, a community in Orumba South Local Government Area.

A representative and Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Donor Agencies, Nneka Onwudiwe, pledged more support to the initiative.

For the beneficiaries, their lives would be more meaningful, as the wheelchairs would not only facilitate their mobility but would as well help them in their domestic activities.

Anambra State First Lady Empowers 200 Physically Challenged

wife of the Anambra state governor, ebele obianoThe wife of the Anambra State Governor, Mrs Ebele Obiano, has distributed prosthetic limbs and empowering items to 200 physically challenged persons in the state.

During the fitting of the limbs at the Women Development Center, Awka, Anambra State capital, Mrs Obiano said the gesture was to enable them earn a better living.

The Governor’s wife sponsored the programme through her pet project, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ).

The first phase of the programme was held in December last year, with 300 physically challenged persons benefiting.

The women in the state appreciated the effort of Mrs Obiano, which they said uplifted the living condition of the physically challenged in the state.

Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, in his remark, commended the state governor for efforts in reviving the hope of the down trodden in the state.

In addition to the artificial limbs, the beneficiaries were also given computers, laptops, and grinding machines among other empowerment items.

Mrs Obiano also asked graduates with disabilities, who finished in the last six years, to submit their personal details to her office through their respective local government chairmen for employment.

According to her, the state government is set to give jobs to 1,000 physically challenged persons.

Video Game addiction underscored as teen dies after 40-hour marathon

Deaths emanating form video game addiction has underscored the risk attached to it as more and more people are becoming worried as the game industry grows.

Recently, an 18 year old identified as Chuang was found dead, an obsessed fan of a the game released sometime in May 2012, Diablo III with years of anticipation for its release date brought about a number of marathon play sessions as it hit the shelves.

Deaths in Internet cafes are rare, but happen from time to time when players concentrate so intensely on their games, that they ignore factors like the body’s need for sleep and food.

The 18-year ran a 40-hour marathon session with the game in Taiwan before then he was reported to have booked a room at his local Internet café before plunging into Diablo III and foe the entire 40-hours he neither slept or stopped or had anything to eat.

He was checked on by an employee of the cafe and was found lifeless on a table Sunday but he immediately woke up as he notched but after moving a few steps he collapsed and was immediately rushed to the hospital and he was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Hospital authorities suspected that he probably suffered blood clots due the long period of sitting.

Going by records, this is not the first death recorded in terms of game-related marathon death in the Asian country; Taiwan.

Last year, a 30 year-old Chinese gamer died after staying up for three consecutive days, barely eating or drinking anything. And last August, 20 year-old Chris Staniforth suffered a pulmonary embolism after a marathon session on his Xbox, and just this February, Chen Rong-yu had a fatal heart attack while playing in an Internet café in Taipei with an online smash hit video game, League of Legends. he was not noticed to be dead not until after nine solid hours by his fellow players.