Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades announced on Wednesday evening the gradual easing of restrictive measures in place to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, from May 4th onward, stressing at the same time that easing of measures will continue only of citizens strictly follow hygiene and health protocols issued by authorities.
In particular, from May 4, restrictions in the construction sector and all related business activities are lifted.
Retail businesses are also allowed to open as well as outdoors markets and bazaars, provided that they abide by the health and safety rules to be issued by the relevant Ministries. Shopping centers and department stores are still to remain closed.
Tour operators and travel agencies are also to open.
The public and wider public sector resumes full operation as of May 4th, with all employees returning to their posts. Working hours will be determined by the relevant Ministers.
People belonging to vulnerable groups of people as they are determined by a revised list published by the Ministry of Health are exempt.
Employees who are responsible for looking after children until the age of 15 years-old will also be allowed to be on leave until public and private schools start operating again, he said. He added however that during their absence they are obligated to perform any duties they are assigned which they could do remotely.
People belonging to vulnerable groups who will not return to work will also work from home in the same way.
President Ansatasiades also said that the courts will be able to start operating again, adding that this will take place in accordance to decisions to be taken by the Supreme Court.
Referring to the sector of education, he said that the return of students due to graduate from high school in public and private schools has been decided as of May 11, adding that Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou would be making announcements as to the operation of the rest of the school system.
In the context of normalization of the operation of public and private hospitals as of May 4, restrictions are partially lifted and that this will continue on the basis of Ministry of Health directions. Dentists will also resume their operations.
Referring to restrictions in the movement of people outdoors, President Anastasiades said that the number of trips outside is increased from one to three per day, using sms messages as has been the case so far.
He also announced that a curfew would remain in place between 2200 hours until 0600 hours.
From May 4th onward people are allowed to pray in churches, mosques or other places of religious worship provided that there are no more than 10 people inside. A prohibition on large events such as weddings, christenings and funerals, continues to be in place.
From June 1st onward people will be able to attend mass in churches, mosques or other religious places provided that hygiene protocols are as they are set by the Ministry of Health are strictly adhered to. The same measures will be in place for weddings, christenings and funerals.
President Anastasiades continued saying that as of June 1st it will be allowed for up to two people to exercise by way of waking, swimming or cycling in open spaces, in pedestrianized areas, pedestrianized areas within parks. Underage children are exempt.
Parks, playgrounds and other open areas will remain closed.
From May 4th onward, the use of open or outdoors sports facilities will be allowed for high performance athletes included in a list by the Cyprus Olympic Committee.
From May 18th onward, team sports can train in open spaces on the basis of protocols issued by the Ministry of Health. The use of changing rooms or gyms or other similar facilities is not allowed.
Everything depends on strictly abiding with epidemiological protocols and directions issued by the relevant ministries, he reiterated.
“Therefore, decisions which have to do with lifting of measures will depend absolutely on the epidemiological indices and the recommendations of the scientific team,” he noted.
From May 21st, all restrictions of citizens movement are lifted, President Anastasiades said.
People will be able to visit parks, playgrounds, open spaces, squares, marinas and so on, provided that no more than 10 people are together.
Restaurant businesses will resume operations but only in outdoors spaces and on the basis of strict protocols issued by the Ministries of Labour and Health.
From May 21st onward, hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons resume operations.
From June 1st onward, people will be allowed access to organized beaches.
Ports start full operation, with the exception of passengers getting off from cruise ships.
Libraries, museums, archaeological and historic spaces resume operation.
Bookmakers resume operations.
At the same time, President Anastasiades noted that government plans for the gradual repatriation of students and other Cypriots stranded abroad is been implemented.
He made it clear that “the duration of measures will depend and is absolutely related with showing mutual respect and solidarity, in the same way the large majority of Cypriots have shown until today.”