More than 50% of wedding and christening receptions scheduled in the coming weeks have been cancelled in the wake of a ban on the unvaccinated, said the Cyprus association of professional event organisers.
Talking to the Cyprus News Agency, the head of the association Constantinos Mosaikos said the COVID-19 decree banning unvaccinated guests from social events and hospitality venues had delivered a blow to the industry.
Since Wednesday, the unvaccinated have been banned from hospitality and social events as tighter COVID-19 restrictions were introduced due to the omicron variant.
The ban in place until January 31, 2022, only allows entry to people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine and present a negative 72-hour PCR or 48-hour rapid test.
“For us, it is another big blow.
“One should keep in mind that our industry was the first to be shut down at the beginning of the pandemic and last one allowed to reopen,” said Mosaikos.
He explained that although the number of unvaccinated people at each event might be small, their families and friends are also forced to cancel.
“There are many couples who have decided to go ahead with just the ceremony without holding a reception, which means we will be losing out.”
Mosaikos said that the Finance Ministry rejected the association’s request for financial support from the government.
He stressed that organisers are not against the government measures.
“We are just asking for a grace period, which would serve the events that are already in the final stages.
“We understand the measures of the Ministry of Health are an incentive for the unvaccinated to get a jab, but those affected have the right to know how their event will be held.
“They were essentially told at the last minute.”
Mosaikos also pointed out that the association comprises different professional event organisers, including photographers, DJs, owners of banquet venues, catering, noting the sector has a huge turnover.
The cancellations, he said, continue since couples are uncertain and do not know whether this measure will be extended after January.
The recent measures, including the ban on unvaccinated, were introduced to boost vaccination rates in the wake of Omicron, a more transmissible variant of coronavirus threatening to more than double daily cases.
The ban on the unvaccinated also includes cafes, pubs, theatres, and cinemas.
Carrying a negative PCR test, not older than 72 hours, or a 48-hour rapid test for hospitality venues is also required for people eligible for a booster shot if seven months have passed.
Rapid tests for the above group will still be available for free.