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COVID19: Lockdown II dos and don’ts

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With Cyprus entering lockdown on Sunday, Cypriots will need to request government approval through an SMS system to leave the home for specific or essential tasks.

With people allowed to leave their homes just twice a day, they need to know what constitutes a valid reason to send in an SMS to the Ministry of Innovation’s 8998 texting service.

Shopping for food, exercise and visiting vulnerable relatives are all valid reasons.

A 9 pm to 5 am curfew will remain in effect with people allowed to travel only for work and for emergencies like visiting a doctor, pharmacy or to help a person who is unable to care for themselves.

Walking the dog near your home (within 500 metres) is allowed without prior SMS approval.

The majority of the public sector is already working from home, with the Health Ministry now instructing private companies to keep only 15% of their staff working from the office.

Employees deemed necessary to work from their office will need to carry a certification from their employer with their details.

Apart from work, people will need to receive approval by text message.

Here are the following conditions where SMS approval is required:

  • Necessary visits to government services, the wider public sector and Local Government when it cannot be carried out online.
  • Purchase or supply of essential goods or services. This includes picking up a takeaway meal from a restaurant or drive-through.
  • Visiting a doctor, medical centre or for blood donation, to get tested for COVID-19 (rapid test or PCR) or going for a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Going to a bank if the transaction cannot be carried out online.
  • Aiding relatives and/or fellow citizens who are unable to cope alone.
  • Going to church for individual prayer or for ceremonies, such as funerals, weddings, baptisms (maximum number of people at ceremonies is 10).
  • Exercise at parks or other open areas provided that there are not more than two people exercising together. Children are excluded.

Each permission granted per request is valid for a maximum of three hours, and no later than 9 pm when the night curfew comes into effect.

Only Nicosia residents are allowed to travel to another district to exercise or swim in the sea. Residents of coastal areas are confined to their district for swimming.

Divorced or estranged parents may travel to see or pick-up their children, provided they have sent their SMS and carry any evidence, such as a court order.

Taking a soldier to and from his army camp, or transferring a passenger to the airport, with proof of the passenger’s travel are allowed but SMS approval is required.

Volunteers who take care of stray animals can move provided that they carry valid confirmation from an animal organization.