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Bahas, Gramatidis & Partners
Athens, Greece

1 . Greece's first recorded infection of Coronavirus (Covid-19) was on February 26, 2020. Since that day, the Greek Government implemented, timely and decisive, some strict, preventive, measures to tackle the spread of the Coronavirus nationwide.

These measures included, amongst others, the shutdown of schools and universities (March 11), all country's courts, cinemas, cafes, bars, shopping centers (malls), restaurants, libraries, museums archaeological sites and sports venues (March 16) and commercial stores (March 18), while leaving open only supermarkets, pharmacies, food shops, bakeries, pet shops, banks and gas stations (with entry checks preventing overcrowding).

As of March 23, 2020 the government followed a number of other countries in Europe in restricting movement, allowing people to travel only to and from work, shopping for essentials, helping a vulnerable relative, walking a pet or taking a run.

Moreover, the Greek Government said a 14-day home restriction will be mandatory for all those who enter the country, regardless of nationality; such restriction was imposed on March 20, 2020 and its final duration will depend on the overall developments.

2. The Greek society reacted very positively to all above taken measures, with immediate response from the Greek business and shipping community making significant and generous donations to hospitals and to the National Health System, while the medical personnel of the country is making heroic efforts to help and cure those citizens infected.

As a result, until April 8, 2020, namely approx. 40 days after the first recorded infection in the country, there are 1,884 cases and 83 associated fatalities confirmed.

That shows that the timely measures taken by the Greek Government worked and reduced the spread of the Coronavirus, providing valuable time to the country's health system to strengthen.

Nevertheless, as the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has repeatedly pointed out, "the difficult times are still ahead of us, next month will be very tough, seriousness, accountability and restraint will be needed".

3. The Greek government announced and already implements a sizable financial program to sustain the Greek economy and workforce , that includes a series of tax measures for businesses and individuals affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Amongst others, these measures include:

- employees of certain companies will receive €800 (tax-free) while certain freelancer, self-employed or independent contractors being allowed the same for 4 months,

- refund of advance payments of tax, acceleration of refunds of income tax and VAT (if not more than € 30,000),

- 25% reduction of assessed liabilities on installments of tax payments (VAT & withholding taxes not included),

- automatic suspension of certain tax and social security liabilities,

- suspension of tax audits and related deadlines until July 31, 2020,

- four month extension of tax payments without imposition of penalties or late-payment interest,

- payment deadlines for tax remittances & suspension of tax collection of assessed taxes (that were unpaid till March 11) are extended to August 31, 2020,

- VAT exemption for donations of goods made to the Greek government for COVID-19,

- reduction of VAT to 6% (from 24%) till the end of the year for products related to protection against Covid-19,

- four-month extension for the payment of real estate tax for individuals.

4. Very early, our firm, Bahas, Gramatidis & Partners, took far-reaching decisions in the interests of our staff and our clients.

Our lawyers started working remotely from their homes, with only an emergency, administrative, shift remaining at our offices, while all internal face-to-face meetings were stopped and replaced with telephone and video conferencing systems.

Also, our Firm, through the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises of which we are members, donated a significant amount to the Greek Ministries of Health & Digital Governance, and will continue to contribute in every way possible.

Let's all hope for the best. In the meantime, #StayHome #StaySafe