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Cyprus

Coronavirus: Vaccinate staff soon, hoteliers urge government

Paphos Harbour 02

Hoteliers in Paphos have urged the government to arrange for hotel employees to be vaccinated soon in order for the tourism industry to properly resume its operations.

With the call came fresh appeals for hotels to be allowed to welcome local residents who are currently prohibited from overnight stays.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency on Thursday, the chairman of the Paphos hotels association Thanos Michaelides said that only around ten hotels are currently open in his district.

“The big problem we face today as an industry is that there is a lot of uncertainty, mainly because of the instability there are still no clear dates for the resumption of tourism,” he said.

Michaelides also called for clarifications regarding the upcoming arrivals on Britons around mid-May. He said the government should clearly state that people arriving from the UK will not have to self-isolate upon their arrival in the island.

He acknowledged that Cyprus should improve its epidemiological picture for it to be considered a safe country for tourists.

“If we don’t see a decrease in the number of daily Covid-19 cases, we risk being categorised as a high-risk country in the most crucial period of the year for hoteliers and for the tourism industry in general,” he said.

A first step for the restart could be the earlier reopening of hotels for Cypriots, Michaelides suggested,

Based on his experience from last year, all hotels in Paphos strictly follow the measures in place against the spread of the virus.

He made it clear that an effort must be made to reopen the hotels, even if they will be understaffed, so that we can say that the Paphos hotel industry is now open.

“Also, due to the expected low number of local and international visitors, the risk of the virus spreading in hotels will be very low.

“But, once again, for all this to happen, it is crucial that hotel employees get vaccinated as soon as possible, so that we can attract more tourists, both local and from abroad. Unfortunately, our request has fallen on deaf ears and bookings, at the moment, remain very low.”

According to Michaelides, the ongoing arrivals from Israel, with which Cyprus made a deal that allows travel between the two countries without the need for quarantine or prior PCR tests for visitors who have been vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicine Association (EMA), are not enough to salvage the industry.

“We need more from the government,” he said.

Finally, he said that Wednesday’s announcement regarding the gradual easing of measures on weddings and ceremonies represents a good step forward.

Between May 17 to 31, up to 75 people can gather indoors or 200 people outdoors while cocktail parties are not allowed.

Starting June 1 to June 14, outdoor cocktail parties may be scheduled with a maximum of 250 people, while up to 280 guests can gather for lunch or dinner outdoors or 150 indoors.

The third phase between June 15 to June 30 allows for the gathering of a maximum 250 people indoors for a seated meal or an outdoor cocktail party. Up to 350 guests may participate a lunch or dinner outdoors, with the number increasing to 400 from July 1 to July 30.

“However, the health ministry should clarify quickly whether guests at a wedding or a ceremony can eventually stay at hotels after they took place, so that they can start booking their rooms,” he concluded.

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