From 26 April, Cyprus will be on 14-day lockdown, a nighttime curfew from 9 pm, people allowed to leave their homes once a day, while non-essential shops will close, including gyms and hospitality.
A month after reopening, bars, restaurants, and cafes will have to shut once more, while all social gatherings are banned, including home visits, to be allowed only on Easter Sunday.
Announcing the lockdown Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the measures – which take effect from Monday until 9 May – are to protect the health service.
Ioannou said that the lockdown would buy health authorities time to push ahead with their vaccination program as cases will drop and alleviate pressure on hospitals.
Much like the strict lockdown imposed in March 2020 to stem the spread of the coronavirus, people will only be allowed out of their homes once a day for essential travel or exercise while all non-vital businesses roll down the shutters.
- The nighttime curfew is extended to 9 pm (instead of 11 pm) until 5 am. People can only leave their homes to go to work, a pharmacy, or visit a doctor.
- All social gatherings banned, regardless of whether outdoors or indoors.
- People will be allowed to gather on Easter Sundays at homes, a maximum of 10 people or two different households.
- People are allowed to leave their homes once a day, on the condition they send an SMS to the 8998-text platform. People getting vaccinated will not need to send an SMS.
- Church services will be held without people present.
- A maximum of 10 people can only attend weddings, baptisms, and funerals.
- People can go to churches for prayer, as long as there are no more than 10 people in the church at any time.
- A maximum of 50 people will be allowed to attend the midnight mass on Holy Saturday. People will be allowed in church courtyards under social distancing and protocols to be announced.
- On 1 May, Holy Saturday, the curfew will be pushed back to 1 am.
- The public sector will only have 20% of its staff in offices at any given time.
- Companies will be allowed to have up to 20% of their staff physically present, with a ceiling of 25 people. Meanwhile, 50% of staff physically present will have to get tested weekly. Businesses with up to 5 people will have to have all employees tested weekly.
- All restaurants, bars, cafes will have to close. They are allowed to operate a delivery and take away services.
- Theatres and cinemas close.
- All non-essential retail shops to close.
- Gyms, dance schools and other sports schools will have to close. People can exercise outdoors in groups of up to two people.
- Betting shops close.
- Hair salons and beauty parlours close.
- All extra-curricula activities, including private tutoring (apart from one-on-one lessons) and sports activities for children under the age of 18, are banned.
Schools will be on holiday until 10 May; the Health Minister did not give any information on whether school return would be delayed.
Measures to be lifted on 10 May
The lockdown will be lifted on 10 May, with the measures enforced before 26 April reinstated (later curfew, two SMS messages, retail, and hospitality open).
People, however, will need to get tested frequently.
They will only be allowed in retail stores, restaurants, gyms, and theatres if they carry a negative rapid or PCR test, proof they are vaccinated with at least the first dose a minimum of three weeks before or recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months.
“The adoption of the above regulation will enable easier and safer movement of our fellow citizens and will allow us to return safely to more normal conditions,” said Ioannou.
In the past five days, Cyprus’ COVID-19 cases have remained stubbornly above 800, with cases reaching an all-time high of 941 on Tuesday.
Since Lockdown II was eased in February, Cyprus has seen an extra 29,000 cases and nearly 30 deaths.