Hotels, libraries, museums and archaeological sites were allowed to reopen their doors to the public on Monday, as Cyprus entered the third phase of the easing of restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ports also reopened but cruise passengers cannot yet disembark.
With daily new coronavirus cases kept to single digits throughout May, the government’s epidemiological team had no reason to reconsider the initial plan for the lifting of restrictive measures.
Marking the day of further reopenings, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos visited the castle of Kolossi and the Kourion archeological site on Monday.
“All the decisions about the reopenings have been taken in accordance with the ministry of health and following the advice of the government’s epidemiological team,” he said.
He also opened up regarding some possible live events at Kourion, specifying that a protocol regarding concerts and events will be finalised over the next few days.
“Ancient Kourion has a capacity of around 1,700 people, so we can think of reopening to events scheduled on site, maybe with 500 or 600 people.”
He also urged people to take advantage of the unfortunate situation limiting travels abroad and visit archeological sites and museums in Cyprus.
The situation regarding hotels, however, remains a question mark, as foreign tourists are not yet allowed to visit Cyprus and, in general, there will predictably be fewer bookings over the summer.
“Hotels have been given the green light by the government to reopen today. Nevertheless, very few will be in a position to reopen on Monday,” Cyprus Hotels Association (Pasyxe) director general Zacharias Ioannides told the Cyprus Mail.
“I expect more will decide whether to reopen once more restrictions are lifted and hoteliers can finally assess what to expect in terms of bookings and guest reservations for the upcoming months.”
On May 19, the government outlined plans for the resumption of commercial flights from a select number of countries with low coronavirus infection rates to jumpstart Cyprus’ tourism sector.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said flights will begin in two phases, June 9 and 20, from two groups of countries selected by the government’s epidemiological team.
Meanwhile, three restaurants were booked after police carried out 642 checks from 6pm on Sunday to 6am on Monday at various businesses to monitor compliance with decrees to prevent the spread of the virus.
The three restaurants, two in Larnaca and one in the Famagusta disrtict, were booked for failing to keep a distance among customers.
Police had checked a total of 146 premises in Nicosia, 72 in Limassol, 150 in Larnaca, 125 in Paphos, and 83 in Famagusta.
Furthermore, health inspectors carrying out parallel checks reported four restaurants, two of which in Nicosia and two in Limassol after 369 checks made from Friday to Sunday.