Economic activity in Cyprus was set to resume on Monday during an initial phase of easing coronavirus lockdown measures, but business is not as usual as the president of the Republic is calling on citizens to behave responsibly.
One hundred labour officials in the south have been tasked to monitor businesses and the level of adherence to a new set of rules effective Monday, May 4, as workers in construction and retail headed back to work amid easing of lockdown measures.
President Nicos Anastasiades took to social media on Sunday to call on citizens and consumers to “behave responsibly” as the government was set to take the first of several steps in re-opening the economy.
Anastasiades called on consumers to practice good personal hygiene and strictly follow public health protocols in places of business.
'Just a little longer, and we will manage with good sense, perseverance, and patience, the president wrote
“We ought to behave in a manner to protect ourselves, our loved ones, friends, colleagues, and fellow citizens,” the president said.
Several retail businesses in the south were set to open on Monday during the first of four phases, while shopping malls, hair salons and barber shops won’t be allowed to open until May 21.
Similar measures are being put in motion in other parts of the world, including European countries and states in the US, as well as in the northern part of the island. But according to Turkish Cypriot media, restrictions during holy Ramadan remained in place while specific categories of businesses won't open until May 15.
In the south, according to the Cyprus News Agency, members of law enforcement will work together with government officials to supervise the implementation of new measures, as thousands of workers headed back to work in both public and privcate sectors.
Police concerned over signs of complacency
But Police Chief Kypros Michaelides said his department was concerned over signs that were already showing relaxation and complacency on the part of groups of citizens.
“We are trying to handle the situation by trying to remain effective, as our primary concern is to protect public health, and this is what we shall continue to do,” Michaelides said.
The chief said he understood people wanted to find a way out of the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but he reiterated that officers and government officials will continue inspections following a teleconference he held with representatives from various government agencies.
President Anastasiades also called on people to show patience.
“Just a little longer, and we will manage with good sense, perseverance, and patience,” the president said.