The President of the Republic of Cyprus addressed the citizens on Wednesday announcing that the return to normality would take place in two phases. The decisions were made after the convergence of the Council of Ministers held earlier today.
According to the address of Nicos Anastasiades, the first phase will comprise the following steps:
In the Economy Sector:
(i) As of 4 May, restrictions on the construction sector and all similar business activities supporting it will be lifted.
(ii) All retail businesses will resume operations, except for shopping malls and department stores. Obviously, the stores will operate in accordance to safety and health protocols as determined by the competent Ministries of Health and Labor.
(iii) Public markets, street vendors and bazaars will reopen, as always subject to the relevant instructions of the Minister of Health.
(iv) Tourist and travel agencies will also resume operations.
In the Public Sector
Starting 4 May, the Public and wider Public Sector will become fully operational as all employees will be returning to work. Working hours will be determined by the relevant Ministers. The decision will not apply to vulnerable social groups as defined in the new revised list published by the Ministry of Health.
(i) Employees with caring responsibilities for children up to the age of 15 will be entitled to leave until the reopening of public and private schools.
It goes without saying that, during their absence, they will be obliged to perform their duties remotely.
(ii) The same will apply to people who belong to vulnerable populations and will not be returning to work.
(iii) With the return of civil servants, the courts will become fully operational, as always in accordance with decisions to be taken by the Supreme Court.
In the Department of Education:
(i) Focusing on the need to secure the adequate preparation of graduates of public and private secondary schools, it was decided that those students would be resuming classes from 11 May.
The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth will make relevant announcements, while he will also provide updates on all other levels of education. It goes without saying that, until the full reopening of the school units, distance learning will continue.
In Public Health:
As part of the normalization of the operation of public and private hospitals, the restrictions will be partially lifted on 4 May and the relaxation will progress gradually according to the instructions of the Ministry of Health; dental centers will fully resume business.
With regard to individual liberties and the restrictive measures adopted, the following were decided:
(i) The number of outings will increase to three per day by sending a text message (SMS). The 10 pm-to 6 am curfew remains in force.
(ii) Prayer in churches, mosques and other places of worship will be allowed starting 4 May, provided that no more than 10 people will remain at the same enclosed area all at once. The decree on weddings, baptisms and funerals continues to apply.
From June 1st, ecclesiastical worship and other forms of religious worship will be allowed in churches, mosques and other religious sites, provided that health protocols as determined by the Ministry of Health will be strictly followed. The same measures will apply to weddings, baptisms and funerals.
(iii) Individual exercise (walking, swimming in the sea, cycling, etc.) will be allowed in open spaces, on footpaths and sidewalks within parks, as long as no more than two persons are gathered at the same time. Minors are excluded from this restriction. Parks, playgrounds and other open spaces will remain closed.
Starting 4 May, the use of open or outdoor sports facilities for professional athletes included in the list of the Cyprus Olympic Committee will be permitted.
From the 18th of May, the training of team sports will be allowed only in open spaces, on the basis of the protocols to be issued by the Ministry of Health.
It is noted that in both categories of individual and team sports the use of locker rooms, gyms or other enclosed related infrastructure will be prohibited.
As the President of the Republic of Cyprus explained in his speech, the decisions regarding the measures provided for the current or the second phase will depend entirely on the epidemiological indexes and the recommendations by the scientific board.
Under the condition of the above, the measures decided for the second phase include the following:
- From 21 May, all restrictions on the movement of citizens will be lifted.
- Parks, outside playgrounds, squares, marinas, etc., will reopen, provided that there will not be any gatherings of more than 10 people at once.
- Food service sectors will resume business only for outdoor areas, based on strict protocols to be issued by the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Health.
- Starting 21 May, hairdressers, barbershops, beauty salons will reopen.
- From June 1st:
(i) Operation and access to organized beaches will be permitted.
(ii) Ports will become fully operational, with the exception of the disembarkation of passengers from cruise ships.
(iii) Libraries, museums, archeological and historical sites will reopen.
(iv) Betting agencies will reopen. /ibna