COVID19: Hospitality to protest Safe Pass rules

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Cyprus’ hospitality sector plans to protest against the government’s decision to make owners responsible for checking that customers carry a Safe Pass.

Phanos Leventis, of the Leisure and Entertainment Establishment Owners Association, told the Financial Mirror some hospitality establishments have already decided they will close as a reaction to the measures.

Owners of hospitality establishments and gyms are obligated to ask customers to present proof of either being vaccinated, taken a recent COVID-19 test, or having recovered from the virus in the past six months.

“Some cafes, bars, and restaurants are being pushed closer to bankruptcy, as establishments see their clientele shrink.

“Since Friday, hospitality establishments have seen their business drop by up to 60%,” said Leventis.

Although the association does not have a problem with the Safe Pass rule to access venues, they don’t want the responsibility of monitoring compliance.

“It is the state’s obligation to carry out checks, especially since it involves personal medical data of the public.

“We do not accept acting as a police force in checking people’s documents.”

Leventis said that over the weekend, owners of coffee shops and restaurants had to turn people away as they did not carry or did not wish to present their Safe Pass when asked by employees at the venues.

“In some cases, we had clients who reacted aggressively towards owners and staff not allowing them entry.”

Some venues have already been fined for allowing entry to customers who did not carry a Safe Pass, making life for hospitality establishments even harder.

“There are venues whose outdoor facilities have more than just one access point, with staff not being at a position of checking who comes or goes.

“A group of youngsters may walk in, get checked, but then two leave, and another two join the company without being noticed.

“We demand that authorities roll back their insistence on having establishments legally obligated to check customer’s documents.”

These demands have already been conveyed to the government through employers’ representatives at a meeting with the Commissioner for the Citizen Panayiotis Sentonas on Monday.

“We have a news conference scheduled for Tuesday.

“If we do not hear from the government, we will be announcing a number of measures to fight back,” said Leventis.

Cyprus hospitality sector has suffered three national lockdowns and has worked under restrictive measures for the past 16 months.

Following the first lockdown in March last year, hospitality was reopened in mid-May under strict protocols.

Two more lockdowns followed in January and April this year.