Owners of hospitality and nightclub venues are disappointed at the government’s hesitance to ease COVID-19 measures like a ban on dancing and rules on unvaccinated teenagers.
From Friday, unvaccinated teenagers aged 12 to 17 will be allowed back into restaurants, cafes, and theatres if they have a negative PCR or rapid test no older than 72 hours and are accompanied by a vaccinated guardian.
In comments to news site Stockwatch, Nicos Vassiliou, the head of the nightclub association, said that hospitality businesses are not satisfied with the relaxation for teenagers as it entails preconditions.
Vassiliou expressed his association’s disappointment, as they expected the government to lift a ban on dancing at nightclubs and events for the fully vaccinated.
He argued that businesses would lose out on a significant chunk of their annual turnover should measures remain during the carnival period and Easter.
“It will be too late if the government lifts measures in the summer. What will we do then? Most people will be on holiday or at the beach,” said Vassiliou.
He said authorities had targeted nightclubs, keeping them closed, “while the government has failed to prevent COVID from spreading at nursing homes, schools and family get-togethers”.
Phanos Leventis, the Leisure and Entertainment Establishment Owners Association chairman, said: “It would be a disaster if we have to miss out on the carnival and Easter season for one more year”.
Commenting on the government’s decision to allow unvaccinated teenagers back in hospitality venues, Leventis said businesses found it a half-measure, as they will still need to be accompanied by a vaccinated parent.
“Places where the children could go on their own, have been excluded once more.”
The Cyprus Event Organisers Association Chairman, Constantinos Mosaikos, said the relaxation on unvaccinated teenagers would do nothing to help the industry: “All weddings and christenings have been cancelled”.
“We are not so much concerned over the current measures, as we are over whether they will still be in place during the carnival and Easter,” said Mosaikos.
Businesses are concerned about the support they will receive from the government due to restrictions introduced in December.
Vassiliou said the industry is still in the dark over what they will be receiving compensation following the latest restrictions imposed.
They are awaiting the government to inform the industry how they will benefit from a €3 mln support package announced last week by Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides.
“We are still waiting for information on what the support will include and the amount that each business will receive”.
He appealed to the government to support staff in the entertainment industry, noting that they have been out of work since December 23, while it is unknown when they will return to work.