COVID19: Cyprus to scrap Safe Pass for shopping, work

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Cyprus is to lift COVID-19 restrictions at retail shops and workplaces, as government advisors have reportedly suggested that Safe Pass requirements be scrapped for employees and shoppers.

The requirement for customers to carry their Safe Pass documents will be lifted for malls, small shops and some face-to-face services.

With the easing of Safe Pass requirements, health experts will also consider reducing government-paid tests.

According to reports, the government will also scrap a mask-wearing mandate for outdoor facilities and venues while increasing the capacity for social events and cinemas and theatres.

However, the requirement for a Safe Pass will remain in place for closed venues.

Final proposals are to be tabled before Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela on Wednesday, presenting them to the cabinet for approval on Thursday.

Hadjipantela will table suggestions to expand the ‘Test to Stay’ policy to other sectors, including kindergarten children under three.

The measure, already applicable at all other levels of education, currently covers only children over three.

Testing will be carried out with a different method than the one used in older children and adults.

Health experts are contemplating whether to reduce the number of days during which close contacts are subjected to testing within the ‘Test to Stay’ policy.

A student reported as a close contact of a known COVID-19 case must be tested seven days in a row, except for vaccinated kids who only test on the third and fifth day.

Things are a little different at kindergartens, with all children over three years having to get tested every day for seven days, but can carry out the testing on the first, second, fourth and sixth day using a self-test kit.

The measure has already been introduced for security forces, such as the police and firefighters.

Other proposals will include lifting a requirement for businesses to have 25% of their staff working from home while encouraging self-testing.

If authorities relax measures on Thursday, they will be the first since early March, when the government decided to end the Safe Pass for short-stay areas like supermarkets and bakeries and shorten the quarantine time for positive cases to seven days.