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12-03-2021 19:15

Answers to frequently asked questions on what changes as of 15 March, in the framework of the strategic lifting of measures to contain the pandemic

(Decisions by the Council of Ministers – 12 March 2021)

Α. Movement:

1. What are the curfew hours?

Movement is prohibited from 11 o’clock at night until 5 o’clock in the morning of the following day.

2. Under which circumstances is one allowed to move during curfew hours (11 at night until 5 in the morning of the following day)?  

The movement of persons during curfew hours continues to be permitted for the following reasons:

  • For purposes of moving to and from the workplace with the presentation of Form Α, completed and signed by the employer, which certifies the necessity for the movement during the aforementioned hours.
  • For urgent purposes, such as to go to a medical centre or a hospital or a pharmacy or a veterinarian for medical emergencies and to render assistance to people who are unable to care for themselves or who need to self-isolate.

3. How many times per day is movement by exception permitted?

Movement by exception is permitted twice a day by sending a text message to 8998 for the reasons cited in Form B. Persons over the age of 65 may use Form B twice per day for their movements by exception. There are nine (9) categories for movement by exception via a text message.

It is clarified that for purposes of moving to and from the workplace for work purposes, no text message is required, but the employee must present Form A, signed by his/her employer.

Moreover, parents/legal guardians are not required to send a text message for the purposes of transporting a minor or a disabled person to school or a day care center.

4. What changes in the remaining categories for movement by exception via a text message, as of 15 March?

In order to go to a catering establishment (only outdoors), a text message must be sent to 8998 while selecting category number 2

Category number 6 is modified and it now also includes, besides movement for physical exercise and personal training, movement to public gathering places, such as squares.

[For movement to picnic areas and dams, where access is only allowed on 15 March, a text message must be sent while selecting number 6.]

All other categories remain the same.

5. Is movement between Districts allowed?

Yes, movement between Districts is permitted provided that the purpose for which the movement takes place falls within the Categories referred to in the text message, which normally does not exceed three (3) hours.

Β. Social gatherings:

6. Is access to squares allowed?

Access to squares is allowed, as of 15 March, for gatherings of up to six (6) persons, irrespective of age, provided that a text message is sent to 8998 (category number 6 selected) and that the reasonable timeframe of three (3) hours is upheld.

7What is the maximum number of persons allowed in gatherings at public places (parks, linear parks, beaches, nature trails, squares)?

The maximum number of persons who are allowed to gather at parks, linear parks, beaches, nature trails and squares, is six (6), irrespective of age.  

It is understood that persons who are 12 years old and above, who gather at the aforementioned places and live in different households, must wear a facemask.  

8. Is access to picnic areas and dams allowed?

Access to picnic areas and dams is allowed only on Monday, 15 March 2021. The maximum number of persons who may gather at picnic areas and dams on 15 March is six (6) adults and their underage children.  

C. Catering establishments:

9. Is the operation of catering establishments allowed?

As of 16 March, catering establishments are allowed to operate only outdoors, according to the health protocol and the relevant guidelines. 

The aforementioned decision is valid only for the following categories of catering establishments:   

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels and tourist accommodation establishments
  • Taverns
  • Cafés
  • Pizza restaurants
  • Pubs, snack bars and bars
  • Coffee shops
  • Canteens and/or catering establishments in schools, sports clubs, culture centres, associations, etc.  

It is reminded that the public may be served only while sitting down at a table. If the aforementioned establishments operate a bar, it is not permitted for staff to serve clients on the bar. Bars may only be used by staff for the preparation of food and beverages.

10. What is the maximum number of persons allowed in outdoor areas of catering establishments?

There is no set maximum number of persons who are allowed in outdoor areas of catering establishments.The number of persons is determined in each case separately according to the square metres of each establishment and provided that the distancing rules are applied as these are defined in the relevant protocol.     

11. What is the maximum number of persons per table?

The maximum number of persons per table at catering establishments (outdoor areas) is eight (8) persons, irrespective of age

D. Businesses/Services:

12. How will private service-providing businesses operate?

Private companies providing services (e.g. law offices, accounting offices, insurance companies, business service providers etc), except from the essential services determined in the Decree, may operate via telework. Inside a professional establishment a maximum of 30% of the total number of employees may be physically present, with a minimum physical presence of five (5) persons if the employer so wishes.

It is understood that if a company operates in more than one building, then a maximum of 30% of the total number of employees of each building may be physically present, with a minimum physical presence of five (5) persons if the employer so wishes.

For businesses which share a building, a maximum of 30% of the total number of employees of each legal entity (namely, of each business) may be physically present, with a minimum physical presence of five (5) persons if the employer so wishes and provided that the health protocols are upheld.

The remaining staff may work from home. It is understood that the number is rounded up.

Ε. Rapid tests:

13. Who must undergo an antigen rapid test? 

All employees who are active in businesses/sectors which are reopening as of 16 March, must undergo an antigen rapid test before they return to their workplace, either free through the Ministry of Health’s programme or privately at their own expense. 

Moreover, employees in businesses/sectors must undergo an antigen rapid test on a weekly basis, as defined in question 14.

14. How long is the rapid test valid for? Should it be repeated by employees?

The result of the rapid test is valid for seven (7) days unless, in the meantime, a person develops symptoms or is classified as a contact and should therefore follow the protocol as determined by the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit.

The employer/business has the responsibility to coordinate repeat tests for employees, so that at any time and on a weekly basis they have a valid rapid test, as defined below:

  • For businesses/services employing up to 3 people, all employees should get tested;
  • For businesses/services employing between 4 and 10 people, at least 4 employees should get tested;
  • For businesses/services employing more than 10 people, at least 5 people or 30% of employees should get tested, whichever is bigger in number. 

(MG/MK)