Opening of retail does not eliminate need to help businesses stay afloat, Tsipras warns

Reopening the retail sector should not be used as an “excuse” for not taking measures to support businesses, main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras said in a social media post on Monday.

The main opposition leader proposed four specific measures that the government can take, including: the conversion of the repayable advance into a non-returnable grant; covering the social insurance contributions of employees in order to protect jobs in the period after the lockdown; generous debt settlement schemes for private debt generated during the pandemic, including partial debt haircuts; and the final withdrawal of the government’s new bankruptcy law, whose implementation it had now repeatedly postponed and which, in a time of crisis, would ensure only mass foreclosures and the bankruptcies of businesses and households.

He also welcomed the opening of shops as a “first-class opportunity to support our local shops and small businesses, while observing the necessary protection measures” and appeared confident that the market would get some much-needed relief “in spite of the drastically reduced purchasing power of the citizens”.

He warned, however, that many of these were now seeking a lifeline to stay afloat and not sink under the weight of debts and other accumulated obligations, adding that many will be forced to close for good – leaving thousands without work – unless the government takes active steps to support them.