Health minister Constantinos Ioannou on Friday announced the Cabinet’s decisions on the new restrictions that will affect the Republic of Cyprus in December, with the starkest among them being an island-wide 9pm curfew.
The new measures were made concrete during the Cabinet’s meeting on Friday morning, before which President Nicos Anastasiades received the suggestions of the government’s health advisory committee.
Ioannou said that “over the past two weeks, we were faced with the unpleasant position of having to take restrictive measures to stop the spread of the virus throughout Cyprus, especially in the Limassol and Paphos districts where the epidemiological burden was heavier.”
He added that “the current situation allowed us to make some differentiations without deviating from the strategic goal of curbing the virus and preserving the healthcare system.”
Ioannou stressed that “unlike the majority of European countries, Cyprus did not proceed with a second total lockdown, precisely because, despite the epidemiological burden, we believe that at present we can keep such a move as a last resort to use if necessary.”
"I do not want to beautify the situation,” Ioannou went on. “The healthcare system has been under pressure lately. The patients we are treating today are the same positive coronavirus cases that were being treated 10 days ago, and are showing signs of deterioration.”
Specifically, Ioannou said that November saw 26 coronavirus patients admitted into ICUs, as well as 22 coronavirus fatalities, signalling that almost half of the total of 48 fatalities recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic were mourned in November alone.
Regarding the Limassol district, Ioannou said that despite the small decrease in cases, the situation remains aggravated, while the remaining districts are also showing a deteriorating condition.
The new measures, valid from Dec.1- Dec.13
Emergency island-wide measures
The new measures to apply to Cyprus as a whole will come into effect at 1am on December 1, and will expire at midnight on December 13.
A 9pm-5am curfew, while leniency will be offered to the following groups: workers in possession of the necessary form, people traveling for emergency medical reasons to a hospital, pharmacy, or vet, hunters on permitted hunting days from 3am.
Gatherings at homes can feature a maximum of 10 people, including minors.
Religious services can feature a maximum of 75 people.
Weddings, baptisms, and funerals can feature a maximum of 10 people. Meals to celebrate these events are prohibited.
Visits to hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres are prohibited.
Restaurants and bars must close by 7pm, while delivery services are permitted after this time. Such businesses located within hotels and other tourist units can extend their working hours until 10:30pm but can only serve guests of the premises.
Public transport can operate at 50% capacity.
Gyms, betting shops, and cazinos will shut down, as will swimming pools, which can only be used by disabled people who require pools for treatment and for trainings of up to four people, including the trainer.
Gyms pools and spas located within hotels and tourist units can continue operating but can only serve guests of the premises.
Ports will operate only for commercial Transactions and activities, while the disembarkation of cruise ship passengers is prohibited.
Training sessions and events for athletes under the age of 18 will be prohibited, with the exception of championships of the first three divisions and national teams.
Use of sports facilities will be prohibited, with the exception of open-air sports facilities to be used by a maximum of four people including the trainer and without the presence of spectators, while teams in the first three divisions and national teams can still use sports facilities for training.
Sports and social activities, such as football, dance, theatre, martial arts, and so on, are prohibited for children under 18.
Gatherings at public spaces such as parks, public spaces, dams, picnic sites, beaches, pedestrian pathways, marinas, and so on are prohibited for groups of more than two people. Parents exercising can bring their children along even they are a group of more than two.
Courts will continue operating based on the guidelines of the Supreme Court and the health ministry.
Mass and other kinds of events and gatherings at public or private spaces, including Christmas villages, bazaars, and so on are prohibited, with the exception of those to be organized at amphitheatres and theatres where the 50% capacity rule continues to apply.
Public and private services that continue to serve the public will be permitted to accept one person per eight square metres and only by appointment where these are accepted.
Fruit and vegetable markets will operate with a 50% capacity and people must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from each other.
Children’s playareas, luna parks and theme parks will be suspending operation, as will picnic sites.
Demonstrations will continue to be forbidden.
Limassol and Pahos district-specific measures
The travel ban to and from the two district will be lifted, as will the prohibition on the operation of retail stores and department stores as well as large stores, with a limit on the physical presence of those served (1 person per 10sqm).
Beauty and tattoo parlours, hairdressers, driving schools, archaeological sites and museums, galleries, and exhibition areas will resume operation.
Indoor and outdoor theatres and cinemas can resume operation but will be subject to a 50% capacity rule.
Malls can reopen their doors, but can accept one person per 10sqm.
Measures to apply for period Dec.14-Jan.7
Though decisions were taken for the period December 14, 2020 until January 7, 2021, the health minister stressed these will only remain in their current form if the epidemiological situation allows.
The curfew will revert to 11pm-5am, while Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve will be subject to a 2am-6am curfew to allow for celebrations.
The 10-person cap on gatherings at homes will remain, while for the period between December 12 and January 1, the maximum will be raised to 15.
Restaurants and bars will be permitted to operate until 10:30pm, but on the strict condition that those being served at seated. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, restaurants and bars can operate until 12:30pm.
Betting shops and cazinos will be permitted to resume operation.
Sports matches will be permitted to take place without the presence of spectators, while sports facilities, gyms, dance schools and other kinds of schools will be allowed to open their doors, though changing rooms must be shut.