COVID19: Police on patrol as Cyprus pulls down Christmas shutters

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Cyprus Police stepped up checks on Friday as new restrictions came into force which sees restaurants, bars, cafes, and shopping malls close while churches must stay empty.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, police spokesman Christos Andreou said that officers will continue to be firm while exercising their duties whether checking catering establishments, churches, or individuals.

Andreou said the police will adapt to the new measures so officers can carry out their duties in a productive and fair manner.

“That is why we found it necessary to set up a special unit tasked in dealing with violations of COVID-19 decrees and health regulations to stem the rising tide of disobedience,” said Andreou.

He urged the public to report violations in a timely manner, as in some cases police are informed too late to do anything about it.

People wanting to anonymously report a violation of COVID rules by individuals or businesses can call the 1460 hotline set up by the unit or on 22606803 and 22606804.

Andreou said the force has issued on the spot fines for violations at churches, as they have done at other premises.

“Cyprus Police is implementing the Health Ministry’s decrees to the letter,” said Andreou.

He said this year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations are going to be different due to the pandemic.

“We call on the citizens to show understanding and to conscientiously abide by the measures. It is a common fight that can only be won if we pull together.”

“Cyprus Police will be looking out for their safety and protection of the public.”

The government decided to run a red line through Christmas after COVID-19 daily cases spiralled with more than 3,000 infections being reported in the first 10 days of December.

New restrictions include extending the 9 pm curfew up until December 31.

High school and university students will complete their lessons online, while kindergartens and elementary schools stay open, as infection risk among younger age groups is far lower.

Church services will be held without attendees, the previous decree that allowed 75 faithful and clergy to attend.

This means that Christmas will be an at-home occasion, as was Orthodox Easter that coincided with the first total lockdown.

Cafés, bars, community clubs and restaurants will shut from Friday and only serve take-away or delivery orders.

Shopping malls, theatres, dance schools and gyms will also close, with shop-owners and hospitality screaming disaster having already suffered throughout the year.