People in the Republic Cyprus woke up to a new reality on Thursday, as the second phase of relaxed restrictions and ongoing health protocols kicked in following positive news in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Thursday morning at 6am, people were no longer required to seek permission to go outside, effectively putting an end to sending text messages to Service 8988. According to the latest decree, people also no longer have to adhere to a night-time curfew.
But beachgoers will have to wait until Saturday to enjoy a day at the beach without violating rules, when daytime temperature highs are also expected to drop slightly but remain above normal averages for this time of the year.
Gatherings up to ten people are allowed in private residences while citizens may also visit parks, public squares, marinas, but not playgrounds, as long as there are no more than ten people in any location at any given time.
As of 6am, people were no longer required to seek permission to go outside but beachgoers will have to wait until Saturday to enjoy a day at the beach
Barbershops, hairdressers, beauty salons and spas were also allowed to open on Thursday, including tattoo shops and massage parlors. Restaurants may also operate in outdoor spaces as long as they adhere to strict health policies and a ten people limit per group.
Two days later, on Saturday, churches and places of worship will be open to the general public, as long as worshippers adhere to strict health protocols. Similar rules will apply to betting shops, weddings, christenings, and funerals.
Further measures to be relaxed in June include libraries, museums, and archaeological sites, and sea ports while no passengers will be allowed to disembark from cruise ships until a later date to be determined in the future.
In the north, a night-time curfew still remains in effect but has been modified to hours between midnight and 6am.
According to Turkish Cypriot officials, private beaches, some cafes, restaurants, barber shops and hair salons have already been allowed to open since Wednesday, including internet cafes and coffee shops in local villages.
In the south, the operation of hotels excluding facilities under special permission will continue to be suspended, along with shopping malls, movie theatres, theme parks, playgrounds, casinos, and nightclubs.
Tourism is also expected to take off in mid-June, with local media reports saying the President's Cabinet is expected to finalize decisions on Friday.