Greece, well-known for its breathtaking islands and a destination wedding hotspot is now also known as one of the countries that successfully handled COVID-19 situation, as it remains among the few countries in the world with low infection and death rates. Greece was among the countries to immediately impose restrictive measures including shutting down schools, canceling public events and closing down spaces, enforcing social distancing and imposing a strict stay-at-home order. Greece currently has 2000 active cases as of 18th April 2020.
Greece, which has just come out of a ten-year financial crisis, appears at this stage to have been relatively lightly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. It is perhaps surprising that a country which has made significant cuts to its health sector in the past decade has not seen a larger number of fatalities, particularly when some of its near neighbors have suffered so terribly as a result of COVID-19.
The Early Lockdown Was A Bold Play
“Greece imposed a full lockdown on 23 March, much earlier than many of its European neighbors, having closed bars and restaurants a week earlier. As a result, the country has not seen the same levels of coronavirus as has been recorded in Italy, France, and Spain with 81 deaths and just over 1,800 cases. By comparison, Italy has suffered 17,127 deaths and 135,586 cases.” Says a report from Independent, UK
According to Bloomberg’s report- “Given how quickly Greece responded to the outbreak, the country might be able to get back on its feet sooner than others. Unlike in previous rounds of quantitative easing, the European Central Bank has decided to include Greek bonds in its 750 billion-euro ($810 billion) asset-purchase scheme, which is aimed at supporting the eurozone economy throughout the pandemic. It has also relaxed its rules so that banks will be able to post Greek sovereign debt as collateral when they take up liquidity from the central banks. These were wise decisions and will provide additional stability for the country’s financial markets.”
World Media Commend Greece On Coronavirus Crisis Control
“For years, much of Europe has looked down on Greece as an insolvable problem. For all its intrinsic frailties, in this pandemic, Athens can walk with its head held high.” – Reports Bloomberg
The Guardian underlined “Greece, it is generally agreed, is having a better crisis than may have been expected. Tsiodras recently allowed himself to speak of ‘a flattening of the curve.’ The country’s ability to cope with a public health emergency of such proportions was not a given. After almost a decade embroiled in debt crisis – years in which its economy contracted by 26% – Greece’s health system has far from recovered.”
Independent, UK also mentioned that “The fragility of the country’s healthcare system has seemingly been a driving force behind preventative measures. Greece has proven its resilience over the last few years, a skill inherited from the previous generations who survived against huge odds through the war, oppression and starvation.”
What Does It Mean For Events Industry?
Professionals from the Events & Wedding Industry in Greece believe that the situation will be better soon. Greece is an apple of the eye for tourists around the world, and it will continue to be the one, once this pandemic is over. The economy will recover soon because of the swift actions imposed by the government at a much earlier stage of the pandemic than other southern European countries. Here’s what Events & Wedding professionals from Greece have to say for the upcoming trajectory of wedding and events in Greece:
Picture Courtesy: @dgiouvris
The hospitality sector in Greece has left no stones unturned in following the government’s advice. Mitsis Hotels has issued this statement on their website: “We are doing everything we can to provide the safest accommodation to you, as we are closely monitoring the latest developments, standards, and protocols related to COVID-19 issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Greek government, the Ministry of Health, local health agencies and public health officials. All is in place to keep your health and safety top of mind.”
“Greece as a country has managed to have low numbers for affected individuals, largely because of the immediate measures taken by our government, as well by the Greek people who quickly understood the severity and why social distancing matters in times like these.” Adds Dimitris Giouvris, Founder, Dimitris Giouvris Photography
“I think that our sector, tourism and event planning, are one of the most hit by this crisis. Again, flexibility is the key. We are trying to request people not to cancel but to postpone. Additionally, all venues, hotels and also flight companies give the possibility to amend the dates with the same rates of the initial booking, with no cancellation or amendments fees. Also, all professionals are trying to get organized and apply all safety measures that are currently requested by the WHO. Of course, the situation does not depend only on us. Once the instructions on how to proceed will be clearer, I’m sure that all of us will do whatever it takes to implement them correctly.” Beautifully sums up Jolanda Kappa, Business Development Manager, Kapco Travel Services Ltd
“Certainly, at least 45% of the weddings have been affected, but given the favorable weather conditions in Greece, the couples have already moved their weddings to another date within 2020. Of course, this can’t happen to everyone. So, hoping that our couples will postpone and not cancel, we will have to get prepared for a busier year in 2021. The financial crisis that is expected will lower the budget, so we will have to cope, recruiting all our creativity. Also, the number of guests will most probably be smaller, since there will surely be reluctance in long traveling.” Adds Iokasti Skandami, Art Director, Mazi-Chirography
“Greece has fastly taken every possible measure further in advance for precaution reasons to secure the spread of COVID-19 will be suspended, rather than other European countries. Over this period we understand and with great responsibility, we inform our clients that our team is always at their disposal to schedule calls or Skype meetings answering to any possible questions and organize everything according to their needs on their special day.” Says Anna Maria Rogdaki, Event Designer, Diamond Events
Feature Image Credit: @shutterstock