Greek people face serious cash crisis
Yorgo Kırbaki - ATHENS
AFP photoThousands of Greek people are facing a serious cash crisis after the daily cash withdrawal limit from the country’s ATMs was restricted to just 60 euros per day and the use of credit cards was frozen until June 7.
The level of the economic crisis being experienced at the moment is beyond what they imagined when they voted in January, electing the radical left coalition of Syriza.
Greeks will go to a referendum on July 5 on the economic policy conditions that creditors want to impose in exchange for further bailout financing, while banks will remain closed until July 7 as a measure taken by the government to thwart further cash outflow from the country. The government will decide whether it will reopen the banks after an assessment period.
Cash, however, has already effectively run out in the country, mirroring a situation that occurred in Greek Cyprus 3.5 years ago.
Businesses prefer cash
Thousands of Greek drivers rushed to gas stations, leading to the country’s largest refiner to issue a statement reassuring citizens that there were enough reserves.
In addition, a number of small- and medium-sized enterprises have halted their operations temporarily as they are unable to pay their workers.
There is no limit to the use of foreign-origin credit cards or debit cards, but Greek businesses prefer cash because of the lack of certainty when banking transactions will again be permitted. As such, many European countries have instructed their citizens who plan to visit Greece to carry cash with them.
There is also a rise in burgling cases across the country. Around 80,000 euros was stolen from an 80-year old woman in Crete last week. Police forces caught the thief, but they have warned people about more burglary cases.
Meanwhile, public transportation will be free of charge in Athens until June 6, but this decision will not include services in Thessaloniki and other cities, where public transportation is run by private companies.
Greece will also reopen 1,000 bank branches from July 1 until the end of the week to cater to pensioners who do not use ATM cards.
Turkish tourists continue to stay
The Greek crisis has not affected Turkish tourists visiting the country. “Turks continue to enjoy their vacations in Greece. The sector hasn’t seen any cancelations in Greek tours. On the contrary, we see a rise in the new reservations,” said Jolly Tour Foreign Tours Manager Tolga Tekin.
ETS Cruise Tours Manager Ahmet Yazıcı also said there had been no decrease in the demand for tours to Greece.
“On the contrary, we have extended the durations of our tours to Greece,” Yazıcı said.