Members of the Cyprus’ association for recreation centre owners (Pasika) on Thursday welcomed the reopening of nightclubs today, ahead of the crucial summer season.
In a statement made to the Cyprus News Agency, the organisation said that, throughout the pandemic, its members attempted several times to advocate for the reopening of nightclubs.
“Pasika’ suggestions for the reopening of our members’ establishments were formulated in a spirit of moderation and cooperation, but taking into account all the urgent needs of our sector, which we couldn’t overlook,” he said.
There will be no designated dancefloors when nightclubs reopen tonight for the first time in 15 months, but after complaints from people working in the industry, customers are now allowed dance around their table, according to the protocol issued by the health ministry.
“We had to send a memorandum to the health ministry asking for certain measures to be slightly changed so that people can now dance around their table and make the best of their time,” Pasika’s statement concluded.
However, people going to a club must have a SafePass which means a negative Covid PCR or rapid test taken within the previous 72 hours, or at least the first dose of a Covid vaccine administered at least three weeks before.
Those who had contracted the virus less than six months ago will also be allowed entry.
All staff will submit to antigen testing on a weekly basis and people will only be allowed in if they have a reservation.
Venues must allocate two square metres per person with the maximum number being 500.
The bar areas of nightclubs will not reopen until July 1. They can accommodate five people sitting or standing at a distance of one metre from the next group.
If someone is at the bar on their own, the seat next to them must be one metre away.
However, not everyone had words of praise for the health ministry after the reopening of nightclubs.
Nicos Vassiliou of Pasyked, another organisation representing people working in the entertainment business, lamented that nightclub owners are still overwhelmed by debts accumulated throughout the pandemic and blamed the state for the lack of assistance provided to his colleagues.
“Many owners of nightclubs have overdue loans for their premises and they risk losing their business as well as getting evicted,” Vassiliou told state broadcaster CyBC on Thursday morning.
“So far, most of them only received 50 per cent of the compensation the government promised to grant them, which also only covers seven or eight months of rent,” he said.
“No one knows when they will receive the rest of the money they are entitled to and this creates huge problems for them, to the point that most of them will not open on Thursday, but in two weeks’ time.”