Cyprus police have ramped up efforts to crack down on any violations of the ban on indoor public and private gatherings of over 75 people, enforced through a decree issued by the Health Minister in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Police Deputy Spokesman Stelios Stylianou said on Friday that more than 150 checks had been carried out since Thursday evening throughout Cyprus, with reports filed against premises found to be in violation of the decree.
One report filed by police involved a gathering of 102 people in a Nicosia café, the owner of which was fined.
Stylianou said the police would continue to conduct checks during the day and night, noting however that filing reports is not an end in itself. The ultimate goal of the decree and legislation, he said, is to limit the spread of coronavirus and protect public health.
The decree, in effect until March 31, refers particularly to premises of mass gatherings such as theaters, cinemas, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, ice-cream parlours and events halls.
Stylianou said that checks are also being conducted in churches, which were strikingly not included in the decree despite being spaces which hold mass gatherings composed mostly of vulnerable groups.
In light of the ban, the Tamasos Bishopric on Thursday urged the faithful watch services that will be broadcasted on television and online.
On Friday, the Constantia-Famagusta bishopric said it would provide holy communion at home.
Employers of foreign workers urged to inform them of crowd ban
The Health Ministry on Friday urged employers of domestic workers, predominately foreign nationals, to inform them of the ban on mass gatherings.
As any violation of the decree is a criminal offence, the Ministry asked that employers inform any foreign workers of all aspects of the ban, and of the widespread cancellation of concerts, parades, and other events.