The coronavirus restrictions could wipe out up to 50 per cent of the hospitality industry and the sector must be consulted in the lifting of measures, two associations have said.
Up to half of the businesses in the sector may not be able to reopen due to the cumulative effects of the restrictions during the past year, head of the federation of owners of leisure centres (Osika) Fytos Thrasyvoulou said.
Another key concern is how the eventual reopening will take place and whether the restrictions will allow businesses to remain viable.
“Everyone expects that they [businesses] will reopen as soon as possible. But this should not be misunderstood to mean that we are ready to accept reopening with such restrictive measures that will be catastrophic,” the association of owners of recreation centres (Pasika) warned.
While businesses such as bars and restaurants have reopened at various points during the pandemic, there have been different iterations of restrictions which limited their operations. Either having to close early, limiting the number of people in their establishment or reducing the number of people per table – the measures have made operations considerably more difficult.
Pasika also said that members are considering mass protests across all districts, a move which the association is trying to avoid.
The hospitality industry faced its first restrictions in March 11, 2020 which was soon followed by the general lockdown on March 24.
Many businesses boomed during the summer but were soon hobbled by further restrictions, notably from October 22 onwards when partial lockdowns were implemented in Paphos and Limassol.
A 9pm curfew has been imposed across all districts since November 30, while bars were forced to close at 7pm and were soon locked up altogether unless a take away service was manageable.