The President's Cabinet in the Republic of Cyprus meets Friday to consider tougher rules that could place even small bakeries and mini markets off limits to people not using a Safe Pass.
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According to the Cyprus News Agency, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela was expected during a Cabinet meeting on Friday morning to recommend amendments to be added to a decree that goes into effect on August 1.
While the government did not favor new restrictions during a recent spike of daily infections earlier this month, reports said officials had been mulling over tightening current Safe Pass measures that had been watered down in the previous decree to allow exceptions.
But the government, which has been on a campaign to boost vaccinations in the country, has not shared publicly any new information to justify tougher Safe Pass rules.
Safe Pass rules across the board had been recommended previously but a Cabinet decision to allow exceptions for small shops prompted reaction from supermarket representatives
Reports said Safe Pass rules across the board had been recommended previously but the Cabinet allowed exceptions for small shops such as bakeries and mini markets.
But industry officials representing supermarkets cried foul over the exceptions, arguing they violated competition rules and pressuring the government to reconsider.
Currently a Safe Pass is required in almost all indoor and outdoor places, including supermarkets, public transit, restaurants, and bars, while exceptions include bakeries, mini markets, and convenience stores where fewer than 20 persons including employees gathered at any time.
Local media said the new rules could bring that number down to a single digit, essentially affecting almost all commercial establishments including mini markets, small bakeries, and convenience stores.
A Safe Pass requires people over the age of 12 to have in possession physical proof they have been vaccinated with at least one dose three weeks prior, tested negative for the coronavirus during a rapid or PCR test conducted in the last 72 hours, or officially cleared by state authorities no more than six months since the last time they tested positive for coronavirus. EUDCC and Cyprus Flight Pass documents are also accepted in lieu of a Safe Pass.
Current Safe Pass rules came about after a gradual rise in daily cases took place in the last 30 days in the Republic of Cyprus, with daily infections going from two digits to three, then four, after the government lifted a night curfew and introduced last-minute protocols for reopening nightclubs in mid June.
This week numbers were back to triple digits but state health officials said they were still worried about COVID hospitalizations.
On Thursday, the health ministry announced 655 new daily cases detected, along with four deaths attributed to COVID.