Hospitality sector owners have called on the public to abide by the coronavirus measures at restaurants and bars as they started the preparations to reopen this Tuesday.

Following a three-month closure due to lockdown, the outdoor seating area of restaurants, cafés and bars are reopening on Tuesday, and owners have started the clean-up works and arranging their tables according to the social distancing protocols.

In his statements to the Cyprus News Agency, the head of the association of hospitality sector owners (Osika) Fytos Thrasyvoulou urged the members of the association and customers to comply with the regulations imposed by the health ministry to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

He added that since only the outdoor spaces are allowed to operate, some businesses that do not have an outside area will remain closed.

The fine for individuals who fail to abide by the protocols is set at €300 while for businesses the fines start at €500 with the maximum fine issued being €8,000, police said. The fines increase based on the number of square metres of the businesses and whether it is a first, second or third offence. Repeated violations may also be referred to the court, police added.

Customers must remain seated and wear a mask at all times, except when ” engaged in active eating”.

Staff will also be wearing a face covering unless they work in the kitchen.

Only one customer is allowed per two square metres, according to the health ministry’s protocol.

A percentage of employees will undergo a rapid test every week.


Ahead of the reopening of hospitality venues on Tuesday, the health ministry has released the protocols guiding the practices and behaviours of employees and customers alike in a bid to minimise the transmission of the coronavirus.

As of March 16, the following establishments are permitted to operate their outdoor spaces only: restaurants; tavernas; cafeterias; pubs; snack bars; coffeeshops; dining areas within shopping malls; dining areas within hotels and similar accommodation establishments; canteens in sports clubs or cultural clubs and associations.

All such establishments must close at 10.45pm at the latest.

Customers may be served in outdoor spaces only.

The ministry defines an outdoor space as “any space that is not internal or closed, and avails of sufficient air flow. Sufficient air flow exists in a space that: is not covered by a roof, be it permanent or makeshift; or is covered by a roof, but has three sides permanently open.”

Prior to reopening on March 16, any given establishment’s entire staff must undergo a rapid antigen test; thereafter, staff will be re-tested weekly on a rotation basis.

Each establishment must designate a safety officer, handling a positive coronavirus case or drafting the rapid antigen testing schedule for employees.

The rule of thumb for safe spacing is one person per two square metres. For example, if premises avail of 400 square metres in its outdoor area, they may service up to 200 customers.

The distance between chairs of separate tables, in any direction, should be at least one metre. A maximum of eight persons may be seated at any one table.

Establishment must post a sign on their entrance indicating the maximum number of persons allowed in the outdoor area. In addition, hand sanitiser should be available at the entrance and/or exit, where applicable.

All staff – excluding cooks – must wear a mask at all times. A surgical mask is recommended. It is prohibited to wear a visor without a face mask underneath.

The protocols get even more specific: while taking an order, waiters must stand at least one metre away from the table. Waiting should be done quickly to minimise the time of close contact with customers.

As for patrons, they must wear a mask at all times, except when ” engaged in active eating”.

Disposable or single-use menus are recommended.

No children’s play areas are allowed, inside or outside.

Bar counters are exclusively for preparing food or drinks, and no service is allowed from bar counters. The only exception applies to cafeterias; but here no more than 10 persons are allowed to wait in line at any one time. And they must keep a distance of two metres from one another while waiting.

The use of hookah is strictly forbidden. Buffets are likewise not permitted for now.

Under the protocols, “no type of music is permitted that excites patrons to stand up and dance. Only soft music (live or not) is permitted. In case of live music, the singer’s distance from the closest patron is three metres.”

The health ministry said dancing is not allowed, “and patrons cannot stand up and begin shaking or swaying around their table.”

The use of cash is discouraged, and contactless transactions should be preferred.

For employees specifically, anyone with symptoms of a respiratory ailment must stay away from work and contact their personal doctor for further instructions.

Staff must take breaks on their own, and preferably outdoors. They should avoid speaking, coughing or taking deep breaths while handling food, and wash their hands regularly.

Premises in general must be disinfected on a regular basis.