Employers and parents’ groups on Wednesday lambasted the government over the gradual relaxations of Covid-19 measures, saying they did not go far enough.

The employers and industrialists’ federation (OEV) said that the measures which remain in place were unfair on companies “a large proportion of which have been either completely inactive or substantially underperforming for a long time”.

It said it disagreed with the decision not to open retail businesses until February 8 instead of a week earlier like hairdresser salons and beauty parlours. They also pointed out that “not a word” was mentioned about restaurants and cafes which can only offer take away and delivery services at present.

The organisation called on the government to set goals and for the measures to be lifted when they are achieved, “with our sacrifices”. They also called for a road map setting each stage until all measures are lifted.

“It is economically ineffective and socially painful to suspend economic and social activity while waiting for the virus to be eradicated. Society and the economy must be prepared and trained to live with the virus,” OEV said.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou told state broadcaster CyBC later in the day they could not say for certain as yet when restaurants could resume full operations.

This, he said, will depend on the epidemiological picture within the coming weeks.

The confederation of primary school parents’ associations was equally angered that their children, who have been following online courses for weeks, could not go back to school until February 8 instead of February 1.

Parents expressed their “intense dissatisfaction” and concerns.

“Despite the efforts of both teachers and parents/guardians to help and support primary school pupils during the distance learning period we have noticed that learning needs are not fully met,” the parents’ groups said in a written statement. They added that at the same time, children’s physical presence in their schools was important.

“The school plays an important role in the socialisation of our children and their balanced psychological state.”

They said it will be the government to blame in case of any learning gaps and called on the education ministry to give them reassurances that it will do what is necessary to make sure that the teaching material will have been covered in all grades by the end of the school year.

“We will not tolerate another extension of the non-operation of schools and the continuation of distance learning,” they said.