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26-04-2021 11:35

Answers to frequently asked questions on the measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic

(Effective between 26 April and 9 May)

A. Movement:

 1. What are the curfew hours?

Movement is prohibited from 9 in the evening until 5 in the morning of the following day.

2. Under which circumstances is one allowed to move during curfew hours (9 in the evening to 5 in the morning of the next day)?

The movement of persons during curfew hours is permitted for the following reasons:

  •  For purposes of moving to and from workplaces, with the presentation of Form A, 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 will movement by exception be permitted?

Movement by exception will be permitted once a day by sending a text message to 8998 for the reasons cited in question 5. Persons over the age of 65 may use Form B for their movement by exception.

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.

By exception, and only for Easter Sunday (May 2), movement is allowed twice by sending a text message to 8998 for the reasons cited in question 5 and for the reasonable amount of time of 3 hours.

4. How many categories for movement by exception are there via a text message?

There are eight (8) categories for movement by exception via a text message. Category 8 includes sub-categories, as outlined in question 5 below.

5. In which cases is movement by exception allowed by sending a text message?

Movement by exception by sending a text message is allowed in the following cases:

-Category 1: Visit to a doctor / medical center or for a laboratory test for COVID-19 (rapid test or PCR) or going to a pharmacy.

-Category 2: Purchase or supply of essential goods / services to and from businesses / services, the operation of which has not been suspended, including take-away and drive-through of food and drink businesses, excluding the purchase / supply of spirits (until 8:30 pm). It is noted that the purchase/supply of alcoholic beverages from catering establishments is not permitted, either for take-away or drive-through.

- Category 3: Going to a bank for transactions which cannot be carried out online.

Category 4: Absolutely necessary visits to government services, services of the wider public sector and the Local Government, when the task cannot be carried out electronically. This category also includes movement to/from the Green Spots operated by various Municipalities/Communities, which are adjacent to the citizens’ permanent residences.

- Category 5: Assistance to relatives and / or fellow citizens who are unable to care for themselves or fall within groups that have to self-protect or self- isolate and /or in places of mandatory confinement. Only on Easter Sunday, 2 May, movement is permitted in order to go to a residence provided that, persons present at the residence are coming only from two families and provided that the total number of persons in the residence does not exceed 10, including children.

- Category 6: Physical exercise, provided it does not exceed two adults excluding minor children and is restricted to areas where access is permitted. People are also allowed to go to another District, other than the one where they permanently reside (primary residence), for personal exercise purposes at the sea, provided that they do not exceed two people, except for minor children accompanied by their parents. Movement is permitted for a reasonable time and the persons must return to their permanent residence on the same day, no later than 9 pm. Residents permanently living in Districts with access to the sea, are not allowed to go to another District for physical exercise purposes.

- Category 7: Going to a place of religious worship for individual prayer or for ceremonies, such as funerals, weddings, baptisms (maximum number of people in ceremonies 10 people). Only for Holy Saturday (1 May) movement is permitted in order to go to a place of religious worship for purposes of participating in the evening Easter Liturgy.

- Category 8: (upon presentation of the necessary evidence valid for each case):

  • Movement of divorced or separated parents, which is necessary for communication and contact between parents and children. Individuals must provide a Court Order as proof that they have a responsibility to care for their children on the specific days / hours of movement.
  • Specialized treatments for people with disabilities or people with chronic diseases, together with their carer.
  • Transfer to and from Larnaka and Pafos Airports for the transfer of persons on presentation of proof (ticket) which shows the day and time of arrival / departure.
  • Transfer of farmers and stockbreeders, provided that they submit the form of hectare and capital subsidy from CAPO or, in case this does not apply, a relevant certificate from the District Agricultural Office.
  • Transfer of persons to animal shelters for the care of animals, provided that they present a certificate validated by a recognized animal welfare organization, as well as a relevant proof that the Veterinary Services have been notified on each movement.
  • Movement for visiting a cemetery.
  • Transfer to another privately owned property (eg holiday home, etc.) in the District of permanent residence and / or in another District outside that of permanent residence, only for the period from April 29 to May 3.

All persons moving for any of the above reasons must bring with them an identity card or passport, for identification purposes in the event of checks by the Competent Authorities.

6. In what cases is movement by exception permitted without sending a text message?

Movement without sending a text message is permitted:

  • for the movement of people with disabilities and persons falling within the spectrum of autism, together with their carers.
  • for walking a domestic animal or for physical exercise, provided that the movement is limited to the area adjacent to the residence (within a radius of 500 m from the residence) and provided that no more than two persons are present, except for minor children accompanied by their parents.
  • for the transportation of minor children to and from special education schools.
  • for the transportation of soldiers to and from military camp, on presentation of proof.
  • for employees who continue working with a physical presence at businesses/sectors that have not suspended operations, and who wish, en route to work, to visit premises that remain in operation for the purchase of necessity goods or visit the Green Spots that operate in Municipalities/Communities for the disposal of items.
  • for employees who continue working with a physical presence and who wish to undergo a rapid test at a testing site, en route to work or upon their departure from work or during their working hours.
  • for purposes of going to a Vaccination Centre for a scheduled vaccination against COVID-19, upon presentation of the confirmation message or a relevant form or a vaccination certificate, for purposes of confirming the transfer at that specific time.
  • Transfer to a Blood Donation Centre.
  • Transfer to places of worship, only during the Holy Week (26 April – 2 May), only during Devine Liturgy hours.

7. Is movement between Districts permitted?

Yes, movement between Districts is permitted provided that the purpose for which the movement takes place falls within the points of use of a text message, which normally does not exceed three (3) hours, with specific reasonable exceptions, such as movement for purposes of hunting and fishing, for transfer of soldiers and for transfer to and from airports, for a funeral, for caring for the elderly and persons who are unable to care for themselves in a different District than the one of their permanent residence, or for farming and stockbreeding purposes.

8. How many people are allowed in a private vehicle and how many passengers can there be on public transport vehicles?

Private vehicles may carry persons of the same family (household), including minor children of the family, depending on the capacity of the vehicle, without the use of a mask. In the case of persons from different householdsup to three (3) persons, including the driver, may ride together, with mandatory use of a mask. For movement for work purposes, in a private vehicle with a capacity of more than five (5) persons (e.g., workers on construction sites, transporters, etc.), up to four (4) persons may ride together, with mandatory use of a mask. For work purposes and if the private vehicle has a capacity of less than five (5) persons, up to three (3) persons may ride together, with mandatory use of a mask.

The maximum number of people in public transport (buses, taxis, etc.) is determined by an announcement by the Ministry of Transport.

B. Social gatherings:

9. Are social gatherings at residences allowed?

Social gatherings at residences are forbidden, excluding those permanently residing in them. It is understood that no meal/dinner may be held in houses for weddings and christenings.

By exception, and only for Easter Sunday, (2 May) apart from permanent residents, presence in residences is allowed, provided that the total number of persons in a residence does not exceed 10 persons, including children.

At the same time, being present at a residence is permitted for the purposes of:

  • caring for minors and disabled persons for the period/duration where the physical presence of parents/guardians is necessary in their workplace (e.g., nursery staff, childminders, guardians, caregivers, etc.).
  • providing assistance to people who are unable to take care of themselves (medication, care of individuals, food supply, etc.). It is understood that such persons should take all personal protective measures and remain only for a reasonable period of time necessary for the care of the individual, so that they do not endanger him/her.
  • Work from professionals such as electricians, plumbers, domestic assistants, gardeners, oil painters etc, as well as health professionals, such as physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, community nurses, etc., only for the reasonable amount of time necessary for their work.

10. Are gatherings allowed in public and private meeting places?

Access to and social gatherings in public and private meeting areas are prohibited, namely squares, parks, dams, excursion sites, marinas, beaches, pedestrian streets, etc.

Access is only allowed to parks, linear parks and beaches, exclusively for physical exercise purposes.

C. Sports:

11. Is the carrying out of group or personal championships and matches allowed?

The carrying out of matches of professional championships of the First, Second and Third Division, as well as the carrying out of matches/championships of personal sports, is allowed without the presence of spectators. It is understood that the use of locker rooms is allowed only on the day of the match.

All other championships/matches are carried out, based on the guidelines of the Cyprus Sports Organization.

12. Do indoor and outdoor sports venues remain in operation?

Indoor and outdoor sports venues and swimming pools operate based on the guidelines of the Cyprus Sports Organization.

13. Are trainings in sports facilities for group and/or personal sports allowed?

Training sessions in sports facilities are only allowed for athletes of the professional championships of the First, Second and Third Divisions and National Teams, as well as professional athletes of personal sports, in order to prepare for participation in matches/championships. It is understood that the use of locker rooms is prohibited.

It is understood that training in indoor and outdoor sports facilities is allowed for high performance athletes, who are included in the Cyprus Sports Organization’s registry or for athletes who are pursuing qualification for the Olympic Games, without the use of locker rooms/gyms and any other closed sports and similar facilities, provided that the participants in the training will not exceed five (5) persons, including the coach/trainer.

14. In what instances is physical exercise/training allowed?

Physical exercise/training is permitted only in public outdoor areas where access is allowed in accordance with the decree. Specifically, in parks, linear parks and beaches provided that the participants will not exceed two (2) persons and that the training will be carried out within a reasonable amount of time.

Indicatively:

  • A karate athlete may train at the beach or park alone or with a coach.
  • A person may train at the beach or park with or without equipment (i.e. TRX, step, fit ball, kettlebells, etc), provided that no more than two persons are present, included the trainer.
  • Swimming at sea is permitted only during non-curfew hours, provided that no more than two persons are present.

D. Attending religious services

15. Are sacred temples/places of religious worship permitted to operate?

The Divine Liturgy in sacred temples/religious places of worship is performed without the presence of congregants. It is clarified that congregants may visit religious places of worship for individual prayer (simultaneous physical presence of up to ten persons per religious place), provided that the health protocols will be upheld (social distancing, masks, maximum number of attendees).

It is clarified that the presence of congregants in the courtyard of temples/religious places of worship is prohibited.

By way of exception and only for the mass during Holy Week (26 April 2021 – 2 May 2021), the presence of congregants inside the temples/religious places is permitted, provided that they can present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate providing that they have been vaccinated with at least one jab, at least three weeks prior, and maintaining social distancing measures. During the aforementioned period, the presence of people in the courtyards of temples/religious places is also allowed, provided that the persons who are present there are seated and that the Ministry of Health’s guidelines are upheld.

16. Is the carrying out of religious ceremonies like weddings, christenings and funerals permitted?

Religious ceremonies (weddings, christenings and funerals) can be carried out with a maximum number of ten persons present, including the husband/wife. It is understood that the ten-person limit does not include priests and other church staff.

As regards funerals, the ten-person limit applies to both the religious ceremony and the burial.

As regards individual prayers, all measures must be upheld and no more than ten persons may be present within the place of religious worship.

 

E. Businesses/Services:

17. How will private service businesses operate?

Private service businesses (i.e. law offices, accountants, insurance companies, service providing businesses etc.) excluding essential services defined in the Decree, work through telework. Inside the professional establishment, physical presence is permitted for a maximum of 20% of the total number of staff, with a minimum physical presence set at three persons and a maximum at 25 persons.

It is understood that if a business operates in more than one building, physical presence is permitted for a maximum of 20% of the employees working in each building, with a minimum physical presence set at three persons and a maximum at 25 persons.

For businesses that are co-located in the same premises, physical presence is permitted for a maximum of 20% of the employees of each legal entity (namely, of each business), with a minimum physical presence set at three persons and a maximum at 25 persons and provided that the health protocols are upheld.

The rest of the staff will work through telework. It is understood that the number is rounded up.

For instance,

- In a business of 10 employees, up to 3 persons may be physically present at work, if the employer so wishes.

- In a business of 50 employees, up to 10 persons may work via physical presence.

- In a business of 200 employees, the maximum number of persons who may work simultaneously via physical presence cannot exceed 25 persons.

18. Do the offices of industries, construction and similar-nature companies, fall within the aforementioned arrangement?

Yes, the offices of industries, construction and similar-nature companies fall within the aforementioned arrangement. For instance, at the accounting office of a construction company up to 20% of the staff may be physically present at work, with a minimum physical presence set for three persons and a maximum at 25. Moreover, at an architect firm, up to 20% of the staff may be physically present at work, with a minimum physical presence set for three persons and a maximum at 25. It is understood that employees such as architects and civil engineers may carry out outdoor works, i.e. construction sites inspections etc.

19. Will the stores of businesses related to the construction sector remain open for customer service?

No, customer service at stores of businesses related to the construction sector, i.e. sanitary ware stores etc, is not permitted. It is understood that such stores may serve construction professionals (i.e. plumbers, electricians, builders, etc.).

20. Is the operation of retail businesses allowed?

It is prohibited to operate retail businesses to serve the public with a physical presence on the premises. It is understood that these companies can sell products through e-commerce (online) and carry out telephone orders with home delivery.

Certain categories of retail businesses (e.g. petrol stations, medical equipment and medical supplies equipment businesses, dry-cleaners, nurseries and flower shops, etc.) may be able to serve in person. A detailed list of businesses will be included in the Decree.

21. Which businesses/venues/sectors will suspend their operation?

The operation of the following businesses is suspended:

  • Barbershops and hair salons,
  • Beauticians,
  • Tattoo parlours,
  • Theatres, cinemas, performance halls, outdoor and open air amphitheatres,
  • Food and drink areas*,
  • Night clubs,
  • Shopping malls, department stores**,
  • Playgrounds,
  • Theme parks, luna parks, go-kart, tracks, paintball trails,
  • Archaeological sites, museums, historical sites,
  • Zoos and natural habitats,
  • Betting and gambling agencies,
  • Casinos,
  • Driving schools, car drivers’ schools, schools of professional car drivers (Schools/Certification Centres), Vocational Training of Transporters and Vocational Training of Drivers of Dangerous Goods Vehicles,
  • Car dealerships ***,
  • Gyms, dance schools, other related schools.

*It is understood that restaurants can only offer home delivery services at the times set by the companies themselves and take-away and drive-through until 9 pm. Take-away and drive-through for the purchase of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.

** It is understood that retail outlets within shopping centres may sell products via e-commerce with home delivery.

*** It is understood that in the case of automotive dealerships only the operation of repair workshops is permitted. At the same time, car workshops and other related businesses as well as those providing technical inspection services of road transport vehicles (MOT) remain in operation.

22. Which businesses do not suspend their operation?

Businesses which remain in operation, in compliance with the relevant health directives and protocols, are specified in the relevant list to be issued by the Ministry of Labour.

23. What applies to construction sites and other related businesses?

Construction sites and other related businesses shall continue to operate in compliance with the health protocols. A list of the businesses still in operation will be published by the Ministry of Labour.

24. What applies to the operation of food and beverage retailers and the out-door farmers’ markets?

The operation of retailers of food and beverages, such as supermarkets, mini-markets, fruit shops, bakeries, butcher shops, fishmongers, grocers is permitted.

It is specified that the sale of retail trade products (e.g. clothing, shoes, cosmetics, electrical appliances, linen, toys, etc.) at the above food and beverage retail businesses is prohibited.

Pharmacies, supermarkets, mini-markets, fruit shops, butcher shops, fishmongers and grocery stores, from the start of operation until 9 am, shall serve only people over the age of 65 and people with disabilities.

Public markets operate at a capacity of 50 %.  It is noted that the street vending of food (e.g. mobile canteens selling sandwiches, ice cream, vegetables, fruit, etc.) is allowed, provided that the vendors hold a valid permit from their relevant Municipal or Community Council and provided that customer service is carried out only through take-away, drive-through or delivery and without any tables and chairs available for sitting down on-site. The operation of public markets which sell clothes, linen and/or other products, as well as street vendors of that nature, is prohibited.

Businesses in the supply chain remain in operation.

25. Will hotels and other tourist accommodation facilities remain open?

Hotels/tourist accommodation facilities operate exclusively for the hospitality of persons who do not have their permanent residence in Cyprus and fall under the provisions of the Decree (paragraphs 2.9 to 2.14 and 2.16). Reservations are not permitted for persons permanently resident in the Republic of Cyprus.

It is understood that restaurants within hotels and tourist accommodation remain open:

  • only for serving persons hosted in their premises,
  • six (6) persons per table,
  • subject to the measure of one person per 3 sq.m. indoors and one person per 2 sq.m. outdoors.

26. How will the public and wider public sector and Local Government operate?

The public and wider public sector will work by teleworking and with a physical presence of staff that does not exceed 20% of the number of employees. Staff released of duty shall remain at their home to work by teleworking. Services defined under the Decree as essential services are excluded from the above regulation.

27. Are conferences exhibitions, press conferences and exams permitted?

Conferences, conventions, exhibitions and press conferences are suspended. It is understood that they may be held online.

Examinations and/or meetings of State Authorities and/or meetings of Authorities and/or Services and/or Bodies may be conducted in places for which permission is granted by the Ministry of Health.

F. Hospitals/medical and diagnostic centers/Old peoples’ homes /Rehabilitation centers/Other Closed Structures:

28. How will the hospitals work?  Are visits to doctors permitted? Will surgeries be performed?

Hospitals in both the public and the private sector continue to operate with a cap that determines the maximum occupancy of beds at 70 %, including ICU beds, in accordance with the instructions issued by the Ministry of Health.

Patient visits to doctors and/or medical and diagnostic centres are permitted, without the presence of an attendant. It is understood that in cases of minors, one of the two parents/guardians is allowed to accompany, while in cases where the patient cannot take care of himself/herself or and move on his own, he/she may be accompanied by another person.

Surgical procedures will be performed according to the cap and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.

29. Will Dental clinics continue to operate?

Dental clinics will remain in operation only for the treatment of emergencies and only after appointment. It is understood that the patient can be accompanied by one person only if he/she is a minor or a person who cannot serve himself/herself.

30. Will health professionals, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, home nurses, etc., continue to work?

Yes, health professionals, namely physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, home nurses, will continue to provide services, provided they comply with the health protocols.

31. What applies to care homes and other structures?

There is still a ban on visiting residents in nursing homes, rehabilitation centres, elderly accommodation establishments and other closed structures. In very exceptional cases, the management may permit visits for a reasonable period of time.

G. Education:

32. What applies to day-care and nursery schools, kindergartens, and pre-primary and special education schools?

Day-care and nursery schools, kindergartens, and pre-primary and special education schoolssuspend their operation, in accordance with the protocols issued by the competent Ministry of Welfare, Labour and Social Insurance.

33. What applies to the operation of tutoring schools, private tuition centres and how will private afternoon courses be taught?

The tutoring schools, and private educational centers remain closed and learning is done online through distance learning/distance education. It is understood that teaching with physical presence of up to two persons, including the instructor (1+1), is allowed.

The measure regarding online courses shall be applied indicatively in cases such as: music lessons (musical instruments, vocals, choir, etc), painting, art, gymnastics, dance, theatre, foreign languages, teaching of school lessons (mathematics, chemistry, physics, history, etc.).

Additions are underlined in the text.

EH/MK