COVID19: Cold feet over restrictions for unvaccinated

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The Cyprus government is having second thoughts over stricter measures for the unvaccinated, such as banning those over 12 from entering hospitality and sports venues, despite an increase in new daily infections and a steady rise in hospitalisations.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas is reportedly having second thoughts over introducing the measure on December 15, following pressure from stakeholders in the affected sectors, such as owners of restaurants and other entertainment establishments.

Media outlet StockWatch, quoting the ministry’s press officer Konstantinos Athanasiou, said that the minister is lending an ear to stakeholders’ concerns and will be reviewing measures in light of the island’s epidemiological performance in the days to come.

The minister, Athanasiou said, will take final decisions based on the spread of the virus, as he pointed out, “citizens’ health should not be endangered, while keeping the possibility of having to shut down the economy once again”.

The director general of the Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEV), Michalis Antoniou, said that the business community had reached out to the minister in order to find a solution that would keep all sides happy.

StockWatch quoted Antoniou as saying that “what we are asking for is that the outdoor areas of the hospitality venues be allowed to cater to the unvaccinated, as long as they carry a valid SafePass, which includes a negative PCR or rapid test no older than two or three days, according to epidemiologists’ recommendations”.

As announced last week, from December 15, only those over 12 with at least one vaccine shot will be able to enter indoor and outdoor venues such as stadiums, restaurants and nightclubs, regardless of whether they have recently been tested.

 

Incomplete vaccination

People who will have started, but have not yet complete their vaccination regimen before December 15, will be allowed in, provided they carry a negative PCR or rapid test.

The measure concerns indoor and outdoor stadiums, theatres, amphitheatres, cinemas, nightclubs, discos, music and dance venues, and restaurants (including restaurant venues). Children aged 6-11 are excluded, but will have to carry a Safe Pass, which can be in the form of written proof of a negative test or an SMS with the test result.

Children under 6 are not subject to any restrictions.

Meanwhile, as of Monday, December 6, businesses and public sector services have been instructed to send 20% of their personnel to work from home, a measure which has also not been welcomed by businesses.

The Secretary General of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Marios Tsiakkis, told StockWatch that, “we are not happy with the fact that there are restrictions on the way businesses will be allowed to operate. We want the economy to remain open so that companies operate smoothly.”

He added, however, that beyond that “we understand that some measures are being taken to limit the spread of the virus which can lead to troubled waters and lockdowns”.

According to Tsiakkis, having 20% of personnel work from home is easy to apply at large organisations or companies that have the necessary infrastructure and a large number of employees. On the contrary, smaller companies will not be able to function smoothly.