Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday presented his party’s proposals for a targeted series of measures to sustainably restart the operation of businesses in the hospitality sector, speaking to representatives of EstiasiGreece from all parts of Greece.
He was also strongly critical of the government’s policy for dealing with the pandemic and the economy.
During the online teleconference, Tsipras said the country was “experiencing an absurd situation” and that this feeling was shared by many, not just the business owners of the hospitality sector, who had been the hardest hit, but also the average citizen.
“You shut down five months ago with 2,500 cases, 30 dead on a daily basis and 200 on ventilators; now we are talking about the fact that you must reopen when we have 4,500 cases, 750 on ventilators and another 150 on makeshift oxygen support looking for a bed and 70 dead a day. This is something that the average citizen cannot understand,” Tsipras pointed out.
This meant, he added, that either Greece’s extended lockdown had been a mistake and should not have been imposed, or that “we are now being led to decisions that lead to ways of thinking that we rejected earlier as dangerous.”
He also noted that the measures imposed by the government had failed to yield the desired results and contained “important contradictions”, saying he had never understood the logic that meeting in an open space with masks and and social distancing was more dangerous than crowding together on a bus or train to go to work, or to workplaces where there was no supervision of the measures.
He also highlighted the danger of runaway recession, noting that Greece’s recession had been the third highest in Europe in 2020, in the wake of a decade of economic hardship and high public debt.