Supermarket representatives in the Republic of Cyprus are crying foul over Safe Pass measures, accusing police officers of being vindictive with fines and pointing out that some door greeters are even scared to confront aggressive customers.
A recent statement from the Cyprus Supermarkets Association (PASYPE) said supermarkets could not continue with having the burden of inspecting health documents of customers at the door entrance, accusing the state of enacting emergency laws that pit grocers against consumers.
But this week PASYPE official Andreas Hadjiadamou took things further, warning that some members including small and medium-sized establishments may decide to close down their stores to avoid getting fined thousands of euro on single violations
Supermarkets were initially in favor of Safe Pass measures, which require door greeters to inspect health documents of customers aimed at keeping out infected persons.
Supermarkets were initially in favor of Safe Pass measures but recently Hadjiadamou said undercover police officers have been vindictive or failing to use judgment
In Cyprus, going to the supermarket or other places where more than ten people congregate at any time, including clinics and senior homes and most bakeries, requires the use of a Safe Pass, a physical proof for teenagers and adults to show they are either vaccinated with at least one dose three weeks prior, have 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.
But recently Hadjiadamou said undercover police officers have been vindictive towards PASYPE members, arguing that those authorized to issue fines did not use their personal judgment to determine whether someone violated the law.
In one case, a fine had been issued at a local store just minutes before closing down for the evening while “only a couple of customers were doing last minute groceries” he said recently on state radio.
But the union representative also said door greeters were scared in some cases to ask for documents, citing fear and improper or even aggressive behavior from customers.
“Supermarkets cannot act as security guards and the state cannot grant so much power to just a few, causing a myriad of issues in the retail food market,” Hadjiadamou said.
There have also been reports that some door greeters simply wave people through without actually looking at their documents or inspecting them closely.
PASYPE argues that many inspections are targeted to take place in specific neighborhood stores and not inside bigger department stores above 100 square meters, resulting in local groceries often getting fines of either €4000 or €8000 for violations of measures that sometimes cannot be implemented.