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Coronavirus: Q&A on new restrictions published, small shops also closing (Update 1)

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No ore gatherings for now (Photo: CNA)

The health ministry has published a Q&A on the new measures to contain the spread of coronavirus. These will come into force at 5.00 am on Sunday, January 10 and be in effect until January 31.

A: Movement:

  1. What are the curfew hours?

Movement is prohibited from 9.00 pm to 5.00 am the following day.

  1. What exceptions are there to this prohibition?

Movement is permitted during these hours for the following reasons:

To go to work on presentation of form A, completed and signed by the employer.

For medical emergencies, such as to go to a hospital or pharmacy or vet, or to render emergency assistance to people who cannot look after themselves or who need to self-isolate.

  1. How many times a day is movement by exception permitted?

Movement by exception is permitted twice a day with the sending of an SMS to 8998 for reasons cited in question 4. People aged over 65 may use document B for movement by exception.

It is clarified that no SMS is needed to go to work and back, but the employee must present document A, signed by the employer.

  1. When is movement by exception permitted with an SMS?

Absolutely essential visits to state and wider public sector services and local government when the service is not available online.

To buy essential supplies or services from businesses/services whose operation has not been suspended, including take-away and drive-through from food and drinks businesses up to 8.30pm. No alcohol sales.

Visit to a doctor/medical centre or to give blood or take a Covid-19 test (rapid test or PCR) or to go to the pharmacy or to be vaccinated at a vaccination centre.

Going to the bank for transactions which cannot be carried out online.

To provide assistance to a relative or others who cannot care for themselves or who are self-isolating or in quarantine.

To go to a place of religious worship for individual prayer or for ceremonies such as funerals, weddings, christenings (maximum of 10 people).

Physical exercise provided it does not exceed two adults, excluding underage children, and is restricted to areas where access is permitted. People are also allowed to go to a different district other than the one they live in for individual exercise at sea (swimming and fishing), provided it is a maximum of two people, excluding underage children accompanying their parents. Movement is permitted for a reasonable time and should not exceed three hours, and the individuals must return to their permanent home by 9.00 pm on the same day.  Individuals living in districts with access to the sea are not allowed to go to a different district to swim.

Movement of parents who are divorced or separated necessary to maintain contact and communication between parents and children. Such people should show a court order showing they are responsible for their children on the specific days/hours of movement.

Specialised treatment for individuals with disabilities or with long-term conditions with their carer

Movement to take or bring back a soldier to the army camp.

Movement to and from Larnaca and Paphos Airports to transport people, on presentation of proof (ticket) showing the day and time of arrival/departure.

Movement of farmers provided they show document from the Cyprus Agricultural Payments Organisation or if this is not available, relevant confirmation from the district agricultural office

Movement of people to animal shelters provided they show confirmation from a recognised animal welfare association and proof the veterinary services have been notified.

Everyone should have their ID or passport with them for identification purposes in the event of checks by authorities.

  1. When is movement by exception permitted without SMS?

Movement of people with disabilities and those on the autism spectrum and their carers.

To take a pet, provided this is within a range of 500 metres from the home and provided it is a maximum of two people, excluding underage children accompanying their parents.

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

Members of the same household, including underage children, are allowed to be in a same car without a mask, depending on capacity. In cases of people from different households, up to three people (including the driver) are allowed to ride in the same vehicle but must wear a mask. For movement for work purposes in a private vehicle with a capacity for five (eg construction workers), up to four are permitted, with compulsory use of masks. If the vehicle fits fewer than five, then three are allowed, for work, and wearing a mask.

The maximum number of passengers on public transport (buses, taxis etc) is regulated by the transport minister.

7. Is movement between districts permitted?

Yes, movement is permitted provided the reasons for this movement is covered by the reasons covered by the SMS which normally should not exceed three hours, with certain reasonable exceptions such as movement for hunting or fishing, to transport soldiers, to go and come from the airport, for a funeral, to care for an elderly person or one who cannot look after themselves in a different district or for agricultural or veterinary work.

8. Members of the same household, including underage children, are allowed to be in the same car without a mask, depending on capacity. In cases of people from different households, up to three people (including the driver) are allowed to ride in the same vehicle but must wear a mask. For movement for work purposes in a private vehicle with a capacity for five (eg construction workers), up to four are permitted, with compulsory use of masks. If the vehicle fits fewer than five, then three are allowed, for work, and wearing a mask.

The maximum number of passengers on public transport (buses, taxis etc) is regulated by the transport minister.

 

Β. Social gatherings:

  1. Are social gatherings in homes permitted?

Social gatherings in homes are prohibited. Only permanent residents can be there. Lunches/dinners in homes for weddings and christenings are prohibited.

Going to houses is permitted in order to:

Look after children and people with disabilities for as long as the parents/guardians need to be at work.

Provide assistance to people who cannot look after themselves (give pharmaceuticals, provide care, supply foodstuffs etc). These people must take all personal protective measures and remain only for as long as needed to care for the person so as not to expose the individual to danger.

Work by professionals such as electricians, plumbers, cleaners, gardeners, painters etc as well as health professionals (physiotherapists, speech therapists, nurses etc) only for a reasonable time required for the work.

  1. Are gatherings permitted in public and private meeting spaces?

Access to and social gatherings in public and private meeting areas and particularly squares, parks, dams, picnic areas, marinas, beaches, paved areas is not allowed.

Access to parks, linear parks and beaches is permitted only for physical exercise reasons.

C. Sport

11. Are sports tournaments allowed?

First division sports fixtures are permitted without spectators. Use of the changing rooms is permitted only on match day.

All other tournaments, as well as sports activities for under-18s are suspended.

  1. Do indoor and outdoor sports facilities remain in operation?

All sports facilities except for those used by division one professional teams and the national teams, as well as dance and other related schools remain closed. Sports facilities used by professional division 2 and 3 teams can be used for training only.

Therefore, the use by anyone other than the teams cited above of sports facilities such as shooting ranges, tennis and basketball courts, golf courses, karate etc, dance and schools above is not permitted.

  1. InWhat about swimming pools?

Swimming pools are closed for exercise. They can only be used for health reasons in the presence of a health professional (eg physiotherapist) for a reasonable time required to complete treatment.

  1. Is training at sport facilities for team or individual sports allowed?

Training at sports facilities, except for division 1 and national teams is permitted only for teams taking part in professional divisions 2 and 3. Use of changing rooms is prohibited,

Training is permitted at sports facilities with a maximum of five people including the coach.

Training is permitted at open air sports facilities of high-performance athletes on the Cyprus Sports Organisation’s list or who are seeking qualification to the Olympic Games without the use of changing rooms and also of any indoor sport and related facilities provided participants do not number above 5, including the coach.

  1. In which cases is physical exercise/training permitted?

Physical exercise/training is permitted only in public, outdoor areas where access is allowed under the decree, that is, parks, linear parks, and beaches, with a maximum of two people together and exercise is less than 3 hours.

For example:

A karate athlete can train on a beach or in a park with his/her coach.

A person can train on a beach, park with or without equipment (eg TRX, step, fit ball, weights etc), with a maximum of two people including the coach.

Fishing at sea is permitted only during hours when movement is permitted provided not more than two people.

Hunting is permitted in areas delineated by the game service on permitted days, during the hours permitted, provided not more than two people.

  1. Religion
  2. Are places of religious worship permitted to operate?

Services at places of religious worship are carried out without congregations. It is clarified that people can go to worship individually, provided they comply with health protocols (masks, distance, maximum numbers).

It is clarified gathering at the entrance area of places of religious worship is prohibited.

17 Are religious ceremonies such as weddings, christenings and funerals permitted?

These can be carried out with a maximum number of 10, including the bride and groom. The 10 does not include the priests and other church officials.

In the case of funerals, the maximum of 10 applies both to the religious ceremony and the burial.

  1. E. Businesses/Services
  2. How will private service business operate?

Private service businesses (eg law firms, accounting firms, architectural offices, insurance companies, service provision companies) excluding essential services set by the decree work remotely. The physical presence within the office is permitted of a maximum 15 per cent of their staff, with a minimum presence of three, if the employer so wishes, and maximum physical presence of 20 people per establishment. Remaining staff will work remotely from home.  Numbers are rounded up.

For example, in a company of 10, three people are allowed to be physically present, if the employer wishes.

In a company of 50 employees, there can be up to eight employees physically present.

In a company of 200, the maximum number there cannot exceed 20.

Retail companies can sell online and carry out phone orders with home deliveries.

A detailed list will be issued by the labour ministry.

  1. Are shops allowed to operate?

The operation of retail shops to serve the public with a natural presence at the premises is prohibited. Businesses can sell online and carry out telephone orders with home deliveries. Certain retail outlets such as petrol stations, medical equipment businesses, dry cleaners, nurseries and flower shops etc, can serve customers with a physical presence. The analytical list of businesses will be included in the decree.

  1. Which businesses/venues/sectors are suspending operation?

Barbers and hairdressers

Beauticians

Tattoo parlours

Cinemas, open air amphitheatres

Food and drink companies*

Nightclubs,

Malls, department stores**,

Children’s play areas,

Theme parks, luna parks, go-kart, paintball

Archaeological sites, museums, historical sites

Zoos and natural habitats

Betting shops

Casinos,

Driving schools (for the general public and professional drivers etc)

Car dealerships ***,

Gyms, dance and related schools

* Delivery, drive-through and take away permitted until 8.30 pm. Take away and drive through for alcohol is not allowed.

** Shops within malls can sell online with house deliveries

*** Car dealerships can operate their service departments. Car shop and MOT service garages continue to operate.

  1. Which businesses do not suspend their operation?

Businesses which remain in operation, complying with health protocols, are set by a list to be issued by the labour ministry.

  1. What applies for construction sites and related businesses?

They continue to operate, complying with health protocols.  A list will be issued by the labour ministry.

  1. What applies for retail shops selling food and drink and markets?

The operation of retail shops selling food and drinks such as supermarkets, mini markets, fruit shops, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, grocers is permitted.

It is clarified that the sale of retail trade products such as clothes, shoes, make-up, electrical appliances, white goods, toys etc) at the above businesses is prohibited.

Pharmacies, supermarkets, mini markets, fruit shops, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, grocers must cater exclusively for people aged over 65 or with disabilities from opening till 10.00 am.

Public markets operate with 50 per cent capacity. Operation of public markets which sell clothes, white goods and other goods and street markets is prohibited.

Businesses in the supply chain remain in operation.

24 Do hotels and other tourist accommodation remain open?

They operate exclusively for guests who are not permanent residents of Cyprus. Bookings from permanent residents are not permitted.

Restaurants etc in the hotels remain open only to serve guests staying there with a maximum of 75 people (indoor and outdoor areas) and six people per table. Moreover, the one person per 3 sq metres indoors and one per 2 square metres outdoors applies.

  1. How will the state, wider public and local government sector operate?

They will work with skeleton staff at the office to deal with urgent issues. Remaining staff will work remotely from home. In determining safety staff, high risk groups should be taken into consideration. Essential services are excluded from these arrangements.

  1. How will courts operate?

Courts will examine only urgent cases and their operation will be regulated by a circular to be issued by the supreme court.

  1. How will national guard army camps operate?

This will be regulated based on guidelines from the defence ministry.

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

Conferences, exhibitions, press conferences are suspended, but can be held online.

Exams and/or meetings of state authorities and/or services are permitted in venues for which permission is given by the health ministry.

  1. Hospitals, medical centres, care and rehabilitation homes and other closed facilities
  2. How will hospitals operate. Are visits to doctors permitted? Will surgeries be carried out?

Both public and private hospitals will continue to operate with a ceiling setting 70 per cent maximum occupancy of beds, including ICU beds.

Visits to doctors etc are allowed without a companion. In the case of minors, a parent or guardian can accompany the patients, and in cases where a patient cannot care for himself or move on his own, a person can go with him.

Surgeries will be carried out in line with the ceiling and guidelines of the health ministry.

  1. Will dentists continue working?

They remain in operation to deal only with urgent and emergency cases, only after an appointment. Minors or those who need help can be accompanied by one person.

  1. Will health professionals such as physiotherapists, speech therapists and home visit nurses continue to work?

Yes, provided they comply with health protocols.

  1. What applies to care homes and other facilities?

A ban on visits remains in force. In very exceptional cases, management can permit visits for a reasonable period of time.

  1. Education
  2. How will public and private primary, secondary and technical schools and colleges and universities work?

All teaching will be remote in line with guidelines from the education ministry.

In cases where the physical presence of students is required for labs to prepare them for exams, these are carried out with compliance to health protocols.

  1. What about nurseries, kindergartens, and special education?

These continue to operate in line with labour and education ministry protocols.

  1. What about private tuition centres?

These remain closed and teaching is remote/online. Teachers who offer private tuition at homes (one teacher per pupil) must teach remotely as long as the measures are in place.

Online lessons are used for example for music (musical organs, singing choir etc), art, gymnastics, dance, theatre, foreign languages, booster classes for school classes.

 

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