04 May Cyprus eases on 04 May, responsibly the coronavirus lockdown
The Cyprus government has announced the four phases of lifting the coronavirus lockdown. On Wednesday evening, the 29th April 2020, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, addressed the public and announced the blueprint for the first two phases of easing the lockdown, following the decisions of the Council of Ministers earlier that day. In turn, on the 30th April 2020, the Minister of Health, Mr. Constantinos Ioannou, explained, in more detail, the first two phases, and announced the third and fourth phases that would follow (https://www.philenews.com/koinonia/eidiseis/article/928247/oi-4-faseis-pote-anoigyn-aerodromia-gmnastiria-sinema).
The President of the Republic of Cyprus, pointed out that the proposals of the scientific team, along with the recommendations of the European Commission and those of the World Health Organization, were taken into consideration in deciding the first two phases for the gradual lifting of restrictions, which begin on the 4th May and 21st May, respectively.
He announced that during the first phase – from 4th until 20th May – in relation to the economic sector, restrictions in the manufacturing sector and in all related business activities, which support this sector, are lifted (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/30042020_1.pdf).
Also, all businesses in retail trade, except commercial centers and big department stores, can begin operating. It is understood that the operation of the shops shall be governed by the safety and health protocols, as these will be determined by the competent Ministries of Health and Labour (https://www.philenews.com/koinonia/eidiseis/article/928247/oi-4-faseis-pote-anoigyn-aerodromia-gmnastiria-sinema).
Flea markets, street vendors and bazaars can open for business, always under the terms and conditions included in the relevant instructions of the Minister of Health. Also, tourist offices and tourist agents can start working again.
Concerning the public sector, it will be fully operational, with the return of all the employees at their work. The working schedule will be determined by the competent Ministers. Those who belong to vulnerable groups, as these are defined in the new revised list published by the Ministry of Health, are exempt.
All public employees who have the responsibility of caring for children up to the age of 15 will have the right to be on leave until the state and the private schools open. It is understood that during their absence, they are obliged to carry out any duties assigned to them via teleconferencing.
Those who belong to the vulnerable groups and who will not return to their workplace, will also work via the same method. Also, the return to work of public servants makes it possible for the courts to convene, always in line with the decisions which the Supreme Court will take.
Regarding the educational sector, and by giving priority to the need for sufficient preparation of school graduates of the state and the private schools in secondary education, their return to school was decided for 11th May (https://www.philenews.com/koinonia/eidiseis/article/928247/oi-4-faseis-pote-anoigyn-aerodromia-gmnastiria-sinema).
It should be noted that the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth will make the relevant announcement about all the other educational levels. It is understood that education through teleconferencing will continue until the full operation of school units.
As for public health, in the context of normalising operation of public and private hospitals, restrictions will be partially lifted as of 4th May, and will continue towards that direction, depending on the instructions of the Ministry of Health, while dental centers will resume operation.
Turning to the personal liberties and existing restrictions, it was decided to increase the number of permitted movements within a day by sending SMS, to three. Ban on movement remains in place from 10.00 pm to 6.00 am (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/30042020_1.pdf).
Moreover, as of May 4, the exercise of religion will be permitted in churches, mosques and other places of worship, provided that there are no more than 10 persons present.
Personal exercise is permitted (jogging, swimming in the sea, cycling, etc.) outdoors, walkways in parks, in groups of not more than two persons. Underage children are not included in the above number. Parks, playgrounds and other open spaces, will remain closed.
In relation to sports, it was decided that as of 4th May, the use of open space athletic installations will be open to high performance athletes, who are included in the records of the Cyprus Olympic Committee. Also, training of team sports will be permitted from 18th May, in open spaces and in accordance with the protocols issued by the Ministry of Health (https://www.philenews.com/koinonia/eidiseis/article/928247/oi-4-faseis-pote-anoigyn-aerodromia-gmnastiria-sinema).
It is noted that in both cases, personal and team sports, the use of changing rooms, gyms or any other indoor installations is prohibited.
Before introducing the plan for the second phase, the President stated that everything depends on the strict adherence to the epidemiological protocols and the instructions issued by the Ministry of Health. Therefore, the decisions regarding measures of the present phase or the second phase will depend entirely on the epidemiological indicators and the recommendations of the scientific team (https://www.philenews.com/koinonia/eidiseis/article/928247/oi-4-faseis-pote-anoigyn-aerodromia-gmnastiria-sinema).
Turning to the second phase – from 21st May until 8th June – it was decided that all restrictions of the movement of citizens are lifted. Also, visit to parks, open space playgrounds, squares, marinas, etc., will be permitted, provided no more than 10 persons are gathered at any time. Also, the ban on movement remains in place from 10.00 pm to 6.00 am will be abolished.
Also, catering business will resume operation only outside and in strict adherence to the protocols of the Ministries of Labour and Health. These include keeping a three- meter distance between the tables and to disinfect the tables and chairs, once the customers leave.
Hairdressing salons, barber shops and beauty centers will resume operations on the 21st May (https://www.stockwatch.com.cy/el/article/epiheiriseis-ygeia/anoigoyn-9-ioynioy-aerodromia-xenodoheia-estiatoria).
As of 1st June, ports will begin full operation, excluding the disembarkation of passengers from cruise ship; public libraries, museums, archaeological, and historical sites will reopen; and betting shops will resume business (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/30042020_1.pdf).
Also, from 1st June, church services and other forms of religious worship in churches, mosques and other places of worship are permitted, provided that protocols on hygiene, as determined by the Ministry of Health, are strictly adhered to. The same applies to weddings, christenings and funerals
It was also emphasised that the government’s plan of action is being implemented for the gradual repatriation of students and other Cypriot citizens who were stranded overseas as a result of the measures taken.
The President, in addressing the public on the 29th April 2020, stressed that the unpredictability of the coronavirus and the aggressiveness of the illness does not allow for any misapprehensions, and that countries that have adopted the de-escalation of measures in order to restart economic activity, are now experiencing rise in covid-19 cases and deterioration from the successful course they had been following (https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/press/30042020_1.pdf).
He further stated that the Minister of Finance, the financial team of the government, the scientific advisors, in cooperation with the political forces and the social partners, continue to work on specific and structured plans, in the framework of a comprehensive plan on the financial management of the crisis.
The President also reiterated the importance of our “first steps to leave our shelters”, by highlighting that this creates an additional responsibility, as we must all protect, through our behaviour, over and beyond ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, our colleagues and our compatriots.
In concluding, he declared that the danger has not faded, that the coronavirus will be with us for a long time, and that any deviations or lack of discipline will not lead us, as we all wish, to the next stage, but to the previous one.
Moreover, the Minister of Health, Mr. Constantinos Ioannou, on the 30th April 2020, announced that the third phase, which will take place between 9th June until 13th July, will entail the reopening of shopping malls and shops; airports / airlines; ports, service and cruise ships; catering services, indoors and outdoors; hotels; and organized beaches, with the condition of maintaining a safe distance.
Additionally, open-air theatres and cinemas will reopen, as well as gyms, sports championships (without fans) and summer programs of private tertiary education. Also, all existing restrictions on movements will be lifted (https://www.philenews.com/koinonia/eidiseis/article/928247/oi-4-faseis-pote-anoigyn-aerodromia-gmnastiria-sinema).
As for the fourth phase – 14th July and onwards – closed theatres and cinemas will reopen, as well as festivals and concerts, casinos and playgrounds, both indoors and outdoors.
The Minister of Health stated that “Together, we will move forward and not take steps backwards. It is in our hands to exit the crisis with the least possible losses” (https://www.financialmirror.com/2020/04/30/covid19-cyprus-unveils-four-stages-out-of-lockdown/).