COVID19: Freedom to walk the dog

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Despite COVID-19 restrictions, owners are allowed to take their dogs for daily walks without having to send a text requesting permission to do so, as long as they are close to their home, the Cyprus Health Ministry clarified.

The confirmation came after the Animal Party said that pet owners are allowed to walk their pets frequently, despite the government social distancing restriction of only one essential trip per day.

After contacting Minister of Agriculture Costas Kadis, the Animal Party said citizens who own a pet can take their animals for walks more than once per day, without sending a text to 8998, provided they don’t go far.

“Proof of the citizen’s movement with their pet is the ID of the citizen, who must have it with them,” the party said.

If citizens are found walking near their residence, the “pet will be considered as proof” for the reason they are outside, the Health Ministry confirmed.

It said this exception only concerns dogs.

Pet owners were concerned over the welfare of their animals after Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Monday introduced harsher restrictions on citizens free movement, to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the tougher measures, citizens were allowed only one trip outside the home per day as of Tuesday at 6 am and a curfew after 9 pm was also imposed.

Neighbourhood watch

Chief of Police Kypros Michaelides, also intervened to clarify that police officers and member of the neighbourhood watch will not be checking homes to confirm that only residents are within the premises.

Following reports that people were defying decrees banning gatherings, by having family get-togethers, the Health Minister announced that all home gatherings are prohibited and police officers along with neighbourhood watch can enter homes to check.

The Chief of Police clarified that the authorities respect the privacy of the home and police officers will not carry out checks for illegal gatherings.

“The police are unlikely to intervene or use force to enter a residence.”

“What can happen is that upon receiving a tip that an event or gathering is taking place at a house that could be dangerous, the police can go to the premises to advise the tenants with courtesy what they are doing is primarily endangering their own health and that of others present at the gathering”.