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COVID19: Cyprus shutters businesses as health emergency declared

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An emergency cabinet session on Sunday decided to lock down the country and seriously curtail economic activity in unprecedented measures to prevent a Cyprus epidemic of coronavirus.

Bars, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and sports/leisure facilities will shut for four weeks as the government declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.

“The following decisions were made with a view to safeguarding public health and ensuring the economic survival of working people, businesses, economically vulnerable groups and the economy at large,” said Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

Those arriving in Cyprus from Monday must provide medical proof they do not have the virus and if allowed entry will undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine at a government facility.

This measure will apply until April 30, 2020.

The same will apply for those who use the crossing points on the Green Line, except for purely humanitarian reasons, said Anastasiades.

With hospitals under strain, the government will initially allocate €100 million for reinforcing the public health sector.

Assessing the situation as it now stands, the Government has decided to adopt a comprehensive financial Support Programme for working people, small and medium-sized enterprises and all other Cypriot businesses,” said Anastasiades.

“The €700 mln ‘Support Programme’ that has been formulated is structured and specific, both in range as well as in expenditure, an amount equal to the 3% of the GDP,” he added.

The government said it could enforce more measures at any time if they are deemed necessary.

“Times are critical, measures alone do not suffice to safeguard public health and its impact. What is needed, is a sense of responsibility and social solidarity on the part of each and every individual to deal with the critical situation we are facing.”

Lockdown measures

According to Sunday’s decision of the Council of Ministers, as part of a series of measures adopted to protect public health and manage the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, it has been decided that from 16 March at 6 am. and for a period of four weeks, the following businesses shall be suspended:

  • Shopping centres and department stores,
  • Cafes, cafés, bars and all catering establishments with the exception of those offering or capable of providing home delivery services
  • Entertainment centres
  • Cinemas, theatres and auditoriums
  • Libraries
  • Museums, archaeological and historical sites,
  • Betting/gaming agencies, casinos, etc
  • Sports facilities, sport and social clubs
  • Theme parks (amusement parks etc)
  • Hairdressers, massage centres.

Provided that they strictly adhere to hygiene rules, businesses may perform administrative or other tasks.

Staying open

For the sake of the health and well-being of the community, the following categories of business remain open:

  • Retailing of foodstuffs (e.g. supermarkets where distance protocol is adhered to including number of employees, not exceeding one person per 8 sqm of used space)
  • Pharmacies
  • Private health services (clinical laboratories),
  • Open markets
  • Bakeries and pastry shops (without seats),
  • Petrol stations
  • Kiosks.

It is clarified that retail businesses that do not fall into the category of suspension can continue their work ensuring that there are no more than five employees in the workplace.

All other businesses that do not fall under the above categories may continue to operate as long as they strictly adhere to the hygiene and protection of personnel and premises.

As for the operation of the hotels, their operation is suspended until April 30, 2020.

To serve their existing customers, they can continue operating for a period of six days.

Concerning private/public sector service enterprises, it is strictly stated that the presence of persons in the service area should not exceed one person per 8 square meters.

Buses and coaches will only carry 50% of capacity.