Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Visits to shops down 30 per cent

Visits to shops are down by 30 per cent, secretary general of shopowners union Povek Stefanos Koursaris said on Friday.

The members of the union expect the government to support the businesses, he added.

“Traffic is quite low and there is a big difference to the situation before the pandemic. The results do not satisfy us,” he added.

“In view of the problems faced by thousands of retail businesses, they are obliged to use imaginative methods to develop their business, to offer the consumer alternative ways of both service and discounts.”

Though he said the average drop of 30 per cent is disappointing, he added “we do not see the glass as empty, we see it as half full.”

The owners will try different methods and believe the Cypriot consumer will support the family business, Koursaris said.

At the same time, he expressed the frustration of Povek because “we expected the state to come to the aid of businesses with direct support, after a month and a half of closure.”

He referred to the withdrawal of the bill to support businesses and said shopowners were worried about how they would pay their rent, operating expenses, taxes, social security, their employees’ salaries and how they would be able to secure goods.

The uncertainty regarding state support has led some to despair, he noted, while many tourism-related businesses have not yet opened.

“Due to the fact that the airports were closed, the start of the tourist season will be based on domestic tourism, which is problematic. More than 300,000 people have an income reduced by more than 40 per cent.”

Koursaris also referred to the cafes and restaurants that opened on Thursday, saying what he observed did not resemble old times.

Restaurants, he added, have also seen increased operating costs due to the protocols they need to implement.

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