Thousands of fines issued to the public for violating coronavirus decrees remain unpaid, Kathimerini Cyprus reported Monday.
Since the Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou issued his first decree imposing restriction measures on March 11, 2020, police have issued 21,771 fines to violators. Of these, 875 involved businesses that were found in violation of decrees issued under the Quarantine Law.
So far, just 9,500 of those fines have been paid, of which 597 involved businesses. For many that have been left unpaid, the month-long deadline for settling the fine has passed, meaning that if normal procedures are followed, thousands of cases will be referred to court.
Businesses conforming to mandatory rapid test rule
The Health Ministry said Monday that checks conducted at workplaces between February 1 and 5 found that employers and employees largely conformed to new rules that require all employees going back to work with the gradual resumption of the economy to get checked on a weekly basis.
Rapid tests have been a central weapon in the government’s pandemic management strategy and in its vision for the gradual lifting of lockdown measures. The relaxation of measures that began last Monday and saw more restrictions lifted today put rapid tests at the centre of new rules, with employees going back to work required to get checked every week.
The focus on workplaces is likely an attempt to avoid a repetition of events from the previous relaxation of restrictions, that saw the island emerging into a more severe relapse mainly due to the transmission of the virus among clusters formed at workplaces.
Last week, 208,000 people – one quarter of the Republic’s population – got tested for the virus via a rapid test, that is offered free of charge at several locations across Cyprus every day.
A total of 1,137 targeted checks were conducted islandwide by the Health Services last week, with just three cases being detected as not abiding by the new rules.
Specifically, 619 barbershops employing a total of 1,173 staff where checked, as were 152 beauty parlours employing 200 people, 231 supermarkets employing 2,024 people, and 135 kiosks employing 304 people.
According to the new rules, businesses employing up to three people must ensure that all employees are checked every week, while businesses with four to ten members of staff must have at least four people checked weekly, and finally, businesses employing over 11 people must ensure that at least four people or 20% of staff get checked for the virus every week.
With the sports sector also gradually resuming, the Health Ministry also required that at least 50% of athletes aged over 18 and employees of sports facilities conduct a rapid test every week.