Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: With further relaxations, hookahs back on the menu


Hookahs, which had been prohibited under health protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus, are now allowed outdoors but only for individual use under new rules published on Tuesday to coincide with the restart of the hospitality sector operations.

As of Tuesday, establishments can provide indoor service. Hookahs are permitted outdoors, there are special rules for businesses serving buffets while the prohibition on dancing remains in place.

The protocol applies to restaurants, taverns, cafeterias, pubs, snack bars and bars, coffee shops, food services offered within shopping centres, hotels and other tourist businesses, kiosks or sports premises, cultural spaces and any premises which offer food.

People aged 12 and over are allowed to enter such premises provided they have a negative Covid-19 PCR or rapid antigen test taken in the previous 72 hours or have been vaccinated with at least the first dose at least three weeks earlier, or proof that they were infected with the disease within the last six months.

All businesses should appoint a person responsible for the premises’ health and safety. As regards social distancing, there should be at least two square metres per person, customers must remain seated and the maximum number of people per table is eight. There should be at least one metre between tables.

Bars can be used only to prepare food and drink and customers cannot be served directly from the bar with the exception of cafes where clients are served from the counter where beverages are prepared. People must wear masks while waiting, be at least two metres from each other and the maximum number of people waiting inline indoors is 10.

Signs indicating the maximum number of people should be placed at the entrance of each establishment. There should also be hand sanitiser.

All employees should wear a mask with the exception of people using the grill. Waiters should be at least one metre away from the table when taking orders and service should be carried out as quickly as possible in order to limit contact with customers.

People should wear a mask when entering each establishment, when they move around and upon their departure.

The protocol also includes special measures for establishments using buffets. Requirements include compulsory wearing of a mask, staff should regulate waiting lines to ensure customers are served quickly, plexiglass should be placed between clients and food wherever possible, where possible buffets should provide already prepared portions, special care should be taken regarding the use of serving utensils as there must be gloves or hand sanitizer and management must change them frequently.

Dancing continues to be prohibited. If there is live music, there should be a distance of at least three metres between the singer and the closest customer.

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