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COVID19: Health Ministry warns masks must be worn everywhere

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The Health Ministry on Monday sent out a fresh public alert to remind people of their obligation to wear a mask to help flatten the second wave of coronavirus.

It said face masks must be worn in all outdoor and indoor areas including offices and restaurants, except households.

In an announcement, the Health Ministry said: “It has been observed that the measure is not fully observed, especially for moving around within premises like restaurants. We want to clarify that for moving around, wearing a face mask is mandatory”.

“When people are not actively drinking or eating in hospitality venues, they are encouraged to wear a mask for their own protection,” the ministry said.

Compulsory wearing of face masks for everyone aged over 12 in outdoor was one of the measures the Health Ministry introduced to stem a spike of COVID-19 in October.

October recorded 2,611 COVID cases and November 6,157 infections.

Wearing of masks was first introduced at the start of August for crowded indoor spaces.

Face masks are compulsory in busy indoor areas such as shops, banks, clinics, and public service offices.

The Health Ministry rules are as follows for face masks:

  • Public transport
  • Indoor areas
  • Construction workers who must use disposable masks when travelling by car (the number of people in the car should not exceed two)
  • Delivery drivers
  • Inside lifts

Exceptions are:

  • Households
  • People who are drinking or eating
  • Dining areas except for take-aways,
  • People travelling in their personal vehicle,
  • Sports/exercise (gyms, dance schools),
  • Chefs / cooks
  • People with special cognitive / mental/developmental disorders
  • People with severe neurological/neuromuscular disease
  • People with deformities and/or injury.

Those who violate the decree on mask-wearing face a €300 spot fine.

Cyprus Police told the Financial Mirror that since the beginning of the outbreak in March it has issued 14,431 fines for violating COVID rules, from not wearing a mask to breaking a curfew.

Some 733 establishments found violating the infectious disease law were fined from €500 to €8,000.

The maximum retail price of disposable masks is capped at €0.70 cents each by law.