Greek business owners concerned about crisis

As confusion over Greece's future reigned on Tuesday, business owners in the capital city of Athens told CNBC the ongoing uncertainty was taking its toll.

"The situation is changing hour by hour. We don't know what will happen later today, let alone tomorrow morning," Athens pharmacy owner Panagiotis Georgalas said, following rumours that the Greek government could U-turn over reforms, hours ahead of a potential debt default.

"I see the fear in people's faces every day in my pharmacy. People are worried that they will not be able to pay for their medications."


A woman talks to a police officer as she waits outside a national Bank branch, as banks only opened for pensioners to allow them to get their pensions, with a limit of 120 euros.
LOUISA GOULIAMAKI | AFP | Getty Images
A woman talks to a police officer as she waits outside a national Bank branch, as banks only opened for pensioners to allow them to get their pensions, with a limit of 120 euros.

The country has been in the spotlight for months as talks between the Greek government and international lenders over reforms repeatedly collapsed. Capital controls have now been imposed and a referendum is slated for Sunday, which could decide Greece's future in the euro zone.

Hopes of some agreement between the Greek government and its creditors were raised on Tuesday, however, after reports that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was reconsidering the final set of reform proposals. But at midnight Central European Time on Tuesday, Greece's current bailout program expires, and if no deal is done by then the offer would technically be off the table.

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As such, Greeks said they were hoping for a solution – and soon.

"We are watching the situation very closely and hope there will be some kind of solution by tonight," Dorina Stathopoulou, a hotel manager in Athens, told CNBC.

"For us, working people and business people, the mood in Athens is really black. You don't known what is waiting for you the next day."

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Athenian restaurant owner, Kristina, agreed, adding that the feeling in Greece was "not so good right now."

"We just don't know what's going on. And with the banks closed, it's not good for us," Kristina, who opted not to give her surname, said.

Greek banks remain closed ahead of the referendum on July 5, which will see citizens vote either "yes" to accept the reform proposals, or "no" and potentially have to leave the euro zone.

It comes as tens of thousands of anti-austerity protestors have rallied in Athens over recent days, and solidarity protests have sprung up around Europe. On Tuesday, politicians from Spain whose parties have a similar anti-austerity message to Greece's ruling Syriza party, staged a "solidarity to Greece" event in the European Parliament.

But despite the tough austerity proposed by lenders, Panagiotis said he would rather this than for Greece to leave the euro zone.

"The problem in Greece is that we have been overspending and we have been spending money that was not ours," he said.

"I think we should definitely vote 'yes' as it's better to live in a condition of having less money and stay in a stable environment, than leaving the euro zone and Europe and going into a very dark situation."

While hotel manager Stathopolou added that she dreaded a "no" vote in Sunday's referendum, saying the fallout from Greece leaving the euro zone, "would be like a war."

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt. Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld