Its spread coronavirus in Greece in recent times has been combined with gradual, but also strict, government measures to fight the pandemic.
Initially, those employees who could work from home left their offices. Then cafes, bars, restaurants closed, and finally the decision was made to close the shops.
However, people in pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores, etc. they had to remain in their posts in order for the citizens to procure the necessary items.
But what happens all this time in stores that operate normally in the midst of a pandemic? The newsbeast.gr talked to him George Michalakis, owner butcher shop in the area of Gyzi, who faces the new conditions in his business coming in daily contact with the world.
- How were the first days in the market, after the closure of the stores and the traffic restrictions?
"The first few days were really something no one expected. Neither the stores nor the suppliers. There was a slight panic in the market in those days, with people hearing rumors that all the stores would close.
The big panic started on Thursday, March 12 and lasted until Wednesday, March 18. People started buying meat in bulk and even in the middle of fasting, where usually the traffic is somewhat reduced. So we got to the point of seeing people create huge queues suddenly and especially at a time when we expected less work
Then, of course, the people understood that the food shops will remain open, while we also informed them from the first moment that we will not close and the situation normalized ".
- At the moment, things have returned to normal, ie in relation to the corresponding period last year?
"After the first 5 days, from March 12 onwards, the traffic is slowly falling. Of course, this has logical explanations. Initially, many who had shopped en masse in the first days, seeing that the grocery stores remained open, consumed what they had "stored".
Liquidity is also an important issue. Many people are out of work these days because of the measures, waiting for the government allowance.
At the same time, there are retirees who are a large percentage of customers and are waiting for retirement at the end of the month, in order to then make their purchases. "Nobody knows anything about the next day, nor can we make a forecast for the work curve."
- People will stay at home at Easter, as there will be no standard exit to the countryside. What are the indications for the market?
"The Easter It is mainly a provincial holiday, as opposed to Christmas. The fact that people will not be able to go to their villages and will necessarily stay in Athens and at home will play a role.
What we expect to see is the great variety and quality for all of us as stores, but also for consumers. This is because the market of Italy and Spain, which every year absorbs a large part of the Greek production in lambs, this year due to the tragic situation that Europe is experiencing, did not buy the number of products they buy every year from Greece ".
"A lady asked me for 40 kilos of meat for storage"
Everything we saw in the first days in the supermarkets, with enough people rushing to buy more products than they needed, happened in the shop of George Michalakis.
- In the first big "wave" were there customers with excessive demands?
"As in any special situation, there are people who really exaggerate and tend to panic others. A typical example is a lady who came in the first days of the panic and asked 20 kg of minced meat and 20 kg of beef in kilo packages for storage!
I explained to her that I could not serve her, despite the fact that I had the quantities she was asking for, but the queue she was waiting for was long and I had to distribute the goods to all customers. After all, we are a neighborhood store and there is a more direct relationship with customers, so we try to serve them all.
This incident happened on Saturday. I explained to the lady that she can get some things today and I assured her that on Monday she can buy the rest, with delivery at home, but she did not accept it and left. "I imagine that these customers are the same ones who buy dozens of antiseptics in supermarkets and do not think about the rest."
- Is there a product that showed increased demand?
"There is nothing that has increased its demand. Minced meat definitely has the upper hand when it comes to storage, as it is a material that can be used in many different recipes. Usually people shop for their week, just in larger quantities.
From there on, with the exception of the first 2-3 days due to the increased traffic, the market returned to normal flow and we had no shortages ".
- Due to the measures, home deliveries will have increased. But the prices?
"Yes, after the coronavirus, home deliveries have increased significantly, especially when restrictive travel measures were taken. As for prices, there is no difference in the market. They remain the same. "
- You come in contact with a lot of people every day. Surely he has heard something… crazy about coronavirus from a customer…
"A client told me he did not raise a flag on March 25 and explained why. He told me that because the virus had been sprayed from above, he did not want to raise his tent to remove the flag."
- What measures have you taken in your store to protect yourself and your customers?
"We as a store have taken measures in the context of prevention, as we can not avoid contact with people. We have raised a protective glass in front of the cash register, so that the employee who is there does not come in direct contact with the customer. There are slots only for money and POS, where the customer uses it himself either contactlessly or with a password.
There is also a special instruction not to overcrowd people waiting for service. So we have posted a relevant instruction at the entrance of the store, so that strictly up to two customers can enter the space. Of course this is something that people fully respect and I can say that he applied it without our intervention.
In fact, we have differentiated our schedule. Normally Tuesday, Thursday and Friday we are open and afternoon, but now we operate daily until noon. We did this because we also need to protect ourselves and we want to be as exposed as possible, but also because the world is no longer moving.
Of course at the end of the day we have the disinfection process. With cleaners and alcohol on all surfaces from the door to the POS ".
"People wear gloves and masks, but do not use them properly"
Many experts stand on the proper use of the mask and gloves, however it seems that many people do not understand how to use them. This has been realized by the shopkeeper himself in his shop.
- Do customers come with masks and gloves to shop?
"Most people use masks and gloves, but that does not mean that they use them properly and we see it every day.
For example, customers who wear gloves, while they have scanned every surface they could touch in the store, from the door and the shop window to the money they take out of their pocket, then always wearing the same gloves make their hair or they take off their masks to talk.
It is as if they believe that gloves have a magical property and kill germs. In their attempt not to touch anything with their bare hands, they achieve the opposite.
There are also customers who have the mask low on their chin so that they can smoke on the street and at the same time, along with the cigarette, they bring to their face the dirty gloves they wear in all their outdoor activities ".
- In the last few days, certificates for leaving home have entered our lives. Do you see people having it with them?
"Because older people choose paper rather than sms to go out and do their shopping, they call us to ask for the exact address of the store, so that they can write it on the relevant document."
"Money in… tapers and banknotes fresh from antiseptic"
The new conditions have brought - as George told us - an increase in home deliveries. Those who call for an order at the butcher shop do so for greater protection, not wanting to come into contact with other people. That is why some people take very strict measures.
- Have you seen enough ingenious measures from customers in home distributions?
"Some ladies, in old age, put money in tapers to keep a distance in the transaction. A gentleman had given me a banknote which was a little… panicked and he told me "do not stress I have put antiseptic on it" ".