Sandwiched between nations struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, Greece is a surprising success story. But with stay-at-home orders in place for a month, exporters of the country’s flagship products can hardly escape the impact of COVID-19. Three Greek olive oil companies exemplify the varied effects of social distancing and closures on Greek businesses.
Evi Psounou Prodromou, co-owner of Yanni’s Olive Grove, reports that her company has not laid off their employees. Bottling facility workers have been staying home since most Greek shops closed on March 13, receiving the 800 euro monthly allowance provided by the Greek government, with the difference between that and their full salary paid by Yanni’s Olive Grove.
“In this way,” explains Prodromou, “we help them during these hard times, because after all, they helped our company many times in the past, when we needed them to work overtime for urgent orders. We are a family company, and we feel that they are ‘our people,’ part of our family”.
However, this small olive oil production and distribution business in Nea Potidaia, Chalkidiki, northern Greece reports major disruptions to their business during the COVID-19 pandemic, “because our main clients are in the USA,” where “the market situation is unfortunately very bad,” according to Prodromou. “We had to stop selling there. Only a few small orders were sent within Europe, mainly to the UK and Romania.” The cancellations of major exhibitions in Athens (Food Expo) and New York (Summer Fancy Food Show) also disadvantaged her company by limiting contact with new buyers.
Read more: Greek Reporter