For all those beach bars across Greece that have been violating the ban on overcrowding, with their patrons reveling in a carefree, holiday mood, the imposition of controls to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is proving to be extremely difficult and the imposition of penalties and fines is so complicated that it ends up almost impossible to do so.
This is not only happening on the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos, the playground of the rich and famous, but also at family-friendly beach bars in Alimos on the southern coast of Attica, while the people who crowd beaches, public squares and so on are just as responsible too.
How can authorities possibly track down all the people who may have had contact with a patient subsequently diagnosed as being infected with the coronavirus if they went to such a place?
But, here’s the thing, what is it that makes the situation at beach bars so uncontrollable? One of the main reasons is impunity.
One could say there is no impunity and point to the 20,000-euro fines and the 60-day shutdown of businesses, as was the case with a bar on Mykonos recently.
Alas, illegality follows the path of legality, as those who are fined can also file an objection against the decision.
The objection “will” be heard and the company “will” close when there is a ruling – if there is one. And this could take place in November or December – that is after the summer season has ended.
This pattern whereby penalties lose their sting and are essentially not enforced is nothing new in Greece and is old as Greek bureaucracy itself.
The buck is continuously passed between those who are responsible, phones ring off the hook, and everything goes round and round in a circle – swirling on the same age-old carousel, where the only thing that changes is the faces and the DJ who selects the music.
Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias may insist that “the rules are non-negotiable. We do not make any discounts on public health.” That may ring true for him, but not for the “others.”
The Greek summer has its own, well-established protocols in force. These are also non-negotiable.
Because with the coronavirus, many – not all – survive. And how could they possibly survive without a party? God forbid.