COVID19: Nicosia café slapped with €8,000 fine for violating health rules

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A café in Nicosia has been fined €8,000 for violating the health ministry regulations regarding public measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic on the island.

With local infections reaching 1,318 cases by Friday, health officials are concerned that the reported cases remain in double-digit figures, primarily due to local transmissions, either from unauthorised gatherings or large crowd-events, such as pool parties, where the hosts and customers are not keeping to social distancing and basic health rules.

One cluster from a pool party has already reached ten infections, while the victims of a birthday party organised by a woman returning from the USA fully aware that she was infected with Covid-19, is nearing 40 infections.

In June, a club owner in Protaras with strong connections to the local football scene, hosted overcrowded parties just after the lockdown was lifted and started an avalanche of public protest against his perceived connections to politicians or even the police. The club owner is yet to be formally charged.

On Saturday, the police said that overnight, six establishments had been reported and a further 16 individuals fined for violating the coronavirus containment measures.

In all, the police said it carried out 953 inspections from 6am Friday to 6am Saturday.

The Nicosia café was slapped with a hefty fine because it violated the health regulations as regards distance between seats, the staff did not wear protective masks or gloves, and there was no antiseptic liquid or even thermometers at the entrance.

In Limassol, one establishment was fined €500 for not wearing masks and there were no fines in Larnaca.

A police spokesman said there were 16 fines in Paphos, mainly for staff not wearing masks, with three establishments fined €1,000 each for overcrowding. Ten were reported for other violations and are pending cases in court.

In Famagusta district, there were 3 violations for not wearing masks.

Earlier in the week, the national coronavirus advisory  council suggested relaxing some of the measures imposed on Limassol where a spike in Covid-19 cases had been reported in recent weeks.

At the same time, with the tourism and hospitality sectors hurt most by the pandemic and with tourist arrivals trickling in as of August 1, when the final restrictions were lifted, Cyprus has been struggling to regain lost ground by encouraging local tourism.

However, the health ministry has also warned that with the holiday season culminating on August 15, people should remain vigilant and try to adhere to social distancing and basic health principles.

Holidaymakers from Britain are classed as Category B, which means travellers should secure a negative Covid-19 test some 72 hours prior to departure, while Cypriot nationals have the option to be tested upon arrival at Larnaca or Paphos airports.

Greece was also downgraded to Category B after an upsurge in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, especially in the island holiday resorts, a popular destination for outgoing Cypriot passengers, many of whom cancelled their holidays.