Short-term bank holiday

Today, we had trout for lunch. I felt an odd sense of doing something — spending money in the local economy — when I went to buy it from the supermarket. Actually, supermarkets don’t seem to be hit particularly hard and the images of empty shelves some media have shown are the exception rather than the norm.

It is the many small businesses selling non-essential goods that are hit hardest — and with them of course their owners, employees and families. With the banking system closed and a fear that things, at least when it comes to liquidity, could get worse, people are delaying the purchase of non-essential goods. One bookshop in Athens, one of the few that is still left in the city, reported sales have dropped 90% over the past 10 days.

Tonight it was announced that what has been called the “short-term bank holiday” (euphemism is a Greek invention too) has been extended until at least Monday, what will be its fifteenth working day. Lifting capital controls is much harder than introducing them.

The atmosphere in Greece remains hot — it was 34 degrees — but peaceful. Other cities and countries have responded worse to a loss of one of their sports teams. That too is worth noting.

Still, I remain optimistic that Sunday’s “deal or no deal” day will lead to the former and will at least give the country some breathing space. It desperately needs it.

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