Cyprus took a giant step out of lockdown on Thursday with Cypriots no longer obliged to stay home or live under curfew while more schools opened along with barbershops, outdoor restaurants and cafes.
After two months of living in self-isolation, Cypriots can move around freely again while 32,000 more people are going back to work.
Since mid-March people could only go outside for exercise and essential trips which needed to be approved by text message while a curfew was enforced every night.
Cyprus went into stage two of easing the lockdown on Thursday, following the initial roadmap laid out by the government, which was subject to changes in epidemiological data.
With the country’s health services announcing that daily new COVID-19 cases were kept in the single-digit range in May, the government gave the green light while also allowing Cypriots access to organised beaches earlier than planned.
All relaxations are subject to compliance with social distancing and healthy protocols issued by the Health Ministry.
Epidemiological data has proved that Cyprus has succeeded in keeping the virus in check, allowing the government to introduce more relaxations earlier than planned.
Organised beaches were due to open on 1 June but will now welcome the public on 23 May.
At present only swimming is allowed not sunbathing or any other leisure activity.
The same applies for religious worship where church services and other forms of religious worship in mosques and other places have been moved forward to May 23 instead of June.
This is how Stage II will unfold
Thursday 21 May
- Primary schools and the first two years of Lyceums open. Kindergartens and gymnasiums are to remain closed
- People will be allowed to move without requesting permission via SMS
- Up to 10 people allowed to gather at homes
- Free movement in parks (except children’s play areas). The rule of a maximum of 10 people gathering in the same area also applies to parks.
- Hair salons, barbers, beauty salons, massage and tattoo parlours also to reopen
- Reopening of catering establishments with outdoor facilities. Outdoors is defined as the areas where smoking is permitted. Groups at a single table should not exceed 10.
Saturday 23 May
- 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 measures apply for weddings, christenings, and funerals.
- Opening of beaches
- Betting shops also reopen
Monday 1 June
- Archaeological sites
- Ports are also to reopen but cruise passengers cannot disembark
Meanwhile, the government is to unveil a tourism roadmap for reopening airports and hotels this summer after President Nicos Anastasiades meets his cabinet on Friday.
The plan will give guidelines for how and when the airports will operate and the timeline for the reopening of hotels.