COVID19: Larnaca shops say Lockdown II is killing them off

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Two lockdowns and other restrictive measures imposed by the government to stem the pandemic have delivered a body blow from which Larnaca businesses may not be able to recover.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, local chairman of POVEK shopkeeper’s union, Kyriacos Ambizas said many businesses have gone under, and will not be bouncing back after the crisis is over.

Ambizas said that the majority of Larnaca shop owners are in financial trouble.

“Larnaca shopkeepers believe that the decision taken by the Government to close stores was not the right one, especially at a time when other stores are open and working normally,” Ambizas argued.

He explained that Larnaca shopkeepers feel that the government has wronged them with the latest lockdown.

“There are people in despair, due to the situation they have been almost financially ruined. We have to wait for what will happen, not knowing if, when and under what terms and conditions the stores will finally be allowed to reopen”.

He said the indications are not good, with a lot of shopkeepers ready to throw in the towel for 2021.

Ambizas said businesses on the high street have already surrendered, closing their businesses for good.

It is claimed that shopkeepers have not received any response to their pleas for the government to intervene on rents owed to landlords and freezing bank loans.

He explained that businesses who used the right to have their loans frozen during the first lockdown, cannot do so a second time around.

He wondered how shopkeepers are expected to keep up with rent payments, loans, at a time when they have no income.

“Unfortunately, everyone now realizes that small and medium-sized businesses that used to support one or even two families can no longer do so.”

“All of these people have been ruined financially, as the measures taken by the government were not targeted and did not follow a logical pattern,” argued Ambizas.

All non-essential shops and businesses have been closed during the second lockdown from January 10, hospitality and shopping malls were shut before then.