After a six-month shutdown, owners and workers in the restaurant business laid the tables and welcomed their customers.

This constitutes one of the most important steps toward a return to pre-COVID-19 normalcy and reclaiming our social life.

The re-opening of the restaurant business and the re-opening of retail shops are two of the most critical stages in the effort to manage the economic crisis created by the pandemic as both sectors are enormously important for the Greek economy.

At the same time, the functioning of the two sectors is an acid test that will determine the outcome of the next steps, namely the re-opening of all schools on 10 May and the opening of tourism (domestic and international), which is Greece’s “heavy industry”.

Much is at stake.

Shops are re-opening based on strict public health rules. Scientists and government cadres have often repeated that the danger of the pandemic has not disappeared.

No one is entitled to overlook the collective economic and social challenges that lie ahead as we are all members of a social whole.

The viability of restaurants (and cafes and bars) and of retail commerce at this point depends on each and every one of us individually.

If we all religiously abide by existing public health measures that have been announced when we visit a restaurant, cafeteria, or shop it will be possible to check transmission of the virus, and the prospect of a new flare up that would lead to backpedaling can be limited.

We have a duty to be extremely responsible in the way we approach recreation and shopping at least until we build a wall of immunity.

As we begin to gradually take our lives back from now on, the behaviour of each of us individually will demonstrate how we view the concept of collective responsibility.

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