Although it just got even harder, a determined but vocal minority are refusing to frequent businesses that require a SafePass
Since the introduction of the SafePass and the decree bringing it into force, society appears to be split in more ways than just vaccinated and unvaccinated.
A Facebook group ‘Shops for All’ shows there are other ‘camps’ in the debate. There are vaccinated people with valid SafePasses refusing to frequent shops that ask for it, and there are unvaccinated people with valid tests that also refuse to enter such establishments.
On the business end, there are the big shops and venues complying with the decree of 20 people (and from Monday 10) and above. There are venues, especially nightclubs, accepting only the vaccinated and recovered.
There are businesses with low capacity asking for a SafePass in violation of the decree, and others saying they won’t ask for it at all on principle. There are even a few saying they are open, but only to unvaccinated people. One hunting shop in Limassol is offering a 20 per cent discount to the unvaccinated only, and to stay within the law, is also offering free rapid tests to enter.
Amid all this, there has been zero clarity from the government on what to do if a business with low capacity refuses entry without a pass in violation of the decree. Clearly, they’ve decided to allow the confusion and are leaving it up to businesses to decide for themselves.
Chain brands such as bakeries and cafes are also adding to the confusion. Some are asking for the SafePass and some not, irrespective of size.
As one poster wrote: “At Zorbas they asked me for a pass. I told then since there are not 20 people in the store, why can’t I enter? The answer was: ‘Because that’s what the government said’. I’m left without bread. Thanks President.” Someone responded that they had gone to a Zorbas in Strovolos and were not asked for a SafePass.
To counter some of the confusion, ‘Shops for All’ was created on Facebook so that unvaccinated people know where they are still welcome and where not. The group was set up a month ago and has more than 17,000 people exchanging information.
“The purpose is to keep people informed about businesses providing goods and services without the mandatory presentation of ‘SafePass’ or any relevant document and accepting clients who have or have NOT received the vaccine,” administrator Liza Andreou states on the page.
The team is also in the process of building a new website, where people can list and find businesses to provide goods and services without needing a SafePass.
What is clear is that thousands of people are avoiding businesses that are asking for a SafePass, even though the bigger ones are only complying with the law. But many people have decided to just shop at smaller outlets that don’t discriminate.
One post uploaded within days of the SafePass being introduced, by a woman called Panayiotia reads: “So I’m really feeling it, the discrimination, as I’m sat in the car outside Jumbo waiting for someone else to get what I need. Then seeing a family being turned away and the little girl crying. Seriously, when will this ordeal end?”
Another poster in Paphos, who has a SafePass for work, offered to bring people bread from the bakery where she works. “Please keep strong and united. Don’t let government get to your head, that’s what they’re hoping for. Scare tactics, bullying, pressure that’s part of their agenda. Help each other out, keep your spirits high, say no to tyranny and don’t let them scare you,” she wrote.
One woman who went to Ikea said her valid test expired at 6.32pm and the shop would not let her enter a few minutes later. “Did I suddenly get coronavirus in 15 minutes,” she wrote.
In another post that was videotaped, an elderly man went to pay his EAC bill in Ayia Napa but refused to show a SafePass. Instead he had the exact amount of money ready and dumped the money and the bill at the front desk, recording his name and address as proof, and walked out.
A supermarket in Yeri posted: “We don’t have this measure. There’s not even a chance to ask if anyone has the vaccines or has had their test. We respect every person with what they decide to do to their body. Even if they force us, we will stick to this for as long as we can.”
Another wrote that the pressure being exerted by the economic and political establishment has created the immediate need for alternatives that will help people bypass the system.
One thing that everyone agreed on was: “The only ‘positive′ that has emerged from this whole situation is that some people have revealed who they truly are. They will be remembered after this farce ends”.