COVID19: Paphos mall shops want lockdown reversed

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Kings Avenue Mall shops demand the government relax COVID measures for Paphos arguing the district’s epidemiological data is better than the rest of the island.

Shopkeepers urge authorities to allow malls and catering establishments to stay open, citing Paphos’ improved epidemiological data since a local lockdown from 13 to 29 November.

As businesses have already suffered two lockdowns, they feel they are being punished a third time by new government restrictions where shopping and hospitality venues must close until the new year.

The head of the local federation of catering establishments Phytos Thrasyvoulou told the Cyprus News Agency that food and beverage businesses will not to be able to reopen once the crisis over.

“The situation for the sector in Paphos is particularly dire, given the lockdown measures that had been implemented here and in Limassol last month,” said Thrasyvoulou.

President of the Aphrodite tourist shops Akis Hadjikyriakos told CNA that Paphos was again being victimised.

New measures, in force from Friday, include the closure of malls and all hospitality venues across Cyprus. They were introduced to stop cases spiralling out of control.

Data presented by authorities on Wednesday showed an increase in the country’s 14-day cumulative notification rate reaching 388.1 while Larnaca and Nicosia are of high concern.

The 14-day cumulative notification rate for Famagusta has risen to 613.5 per 100,000 inhabitants from 452.3 in the previous study released a week ago.

Cases in Nicosia are also rising dangerously as the capital now has a 14-day cumulative notification rate of 475.1 per 100,000 up from 335.1.

Larnaca data has increased to 412.1 from 376, while Limassol is second with a 14-day cumulative notification rate of 273.5 per 100,000 down from 428.7.

Paphos businesses base their objections to the new measures on the fact that Paphos is last with 140.5 per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 123 a week earlier.

Except for Paphos, all districts are far above the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s benchmark 150 per 100,000.

Claiming that they have been unfairly penalised, Paphos mall shopkeepers had planned a protest on Thursday morning which they called off citing respect for the protocols issued by the Health Ministry.

Thursday saw long queues form at Paphos’ Kings Avenue Mall as shoppers rushed to do their Christmas shopping on the last day before the decree came into effect.