National and international borders are slowly reopening in Australia and COVID-19 restrictions are easing in certain states and territories as the country hits the 80% double dose vaccination rate.
For Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, this new COVID normal means it’s time for the government to step back and for Greek Australians to “get on with life and enjoy the freedoms that should be theirs.”
“The Greek Australian community is renowned for their community and entrepreneurial spirit, even in challenging times. This has been clear for all to see throughout the pandemic where they have shown great support for each other and the wider Australian community,” Mr Morrison told The Greek Herald.
“As Australia safely reopens and stays safely open, the Greek Australian community can once again freely get back to doing the things they have missed for so long, attending religious services, celebrating milestones, keeping their business and investments strong and travelling overseas.”
‘Sense of freedom is in our DNA’:
For Greek Australian entrepreneurs who have invested in Greece and commute between the two countries for business, this restoration of their freedoms and the reopening of the international borders is exciting.
Lefka Georgantis, co-owner of the White Pebble Suites in Pollonia, Milos is one of these entrepreneurs.
“When we are in Greece, we hear from other hoteliers how much they miss their Australian clients,” Lefka said.
“It’s really exciting that Australians will be able to travel again after almost two years of restrictions. We need to move forward.”
The CEO of Christopher’s Cake Shop, Kyriakos Panayi, couldn’t agree more and tells The Greek Herald he’s also happy to be back in business serving a variety of handcrafted cakes, pastries and Greek inspired desserts across 10 locations in Sydney.
“We lost 60 percent of our revenue across the stores during the lockdown but almost immediately after [lockdown ended] sales skyrocketed again,” Mr Panayi says.
“Staff hours are also up pre-lockdown and that’s very important from a mental health perspective… because a job is the best form of safety and security for anyone.”
Mr Panayi adds that now it’s time to enjoy our newfound freedoms as we adjust to the new COVID normal.
“Being of Greek descent, that sense of freedom is in our DNA. It’s a Eureka moment and kind of brings you to tears,” he says.
“Whether it’s from a business, personal or emotional perspective, we have to learn to live with the virus and we can’t be locked down again.”
Businesses in western and south-western Sydney would relate to this piece of advice the most considering they were some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 lockdown imposed on NSW this year.
That’s why Mr Morrison has also recently announced the Federal Government will continue to back small and medium-sized businesses in those regions to secure Australia’s recovery from COVID.