Supermarkets on Friday reiterated their objection to the local CovScan app to verify EUDCC certificates, as they pressed the health ministry to clarify how the system will work, and who will be exempted.

Electronic scanning of EUDCC certificates using the CovScan app got off to an erratic start when it was launched on a trial basis on Monday, with many businesses complaining that it was time-consuming and sporadic in verifying the QR codes.

The new system is due to be made mandatory for businesses on November 22. Businesses have been encouraged to start using the CovScan to make sure they are ready before then. The deputy ministry of technology had acknowledged earlier this week some ‘technical issues’ with the CovScan on later versions of Android devices. It said that it had sent tweaks to Google and was waiting for these to be approved.

Meanwhile, the health ministry has said it will be issuing details regarding arrangements for those who do not have a smart phone and people over 65 who cannot present the digital SafePass or the QR code in print form. They are expected to be able to continue to present a paper copy of their vaccination, test result or certificate of recovery.

Authorities hope closer monitoring of SafePass rules will help contain the recent uptick in positive cases. But their plans have run into objections from the two business associations – the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Keve) and the Employers and Industrialists Organisation (Oev), who on Tuesday wrote to the minister saying their members should not be responsible for checking members of the public, only their employees.

An Oev spokesperson had told the Cyprus Mail that this is largely a logistical issue as it involves downloading the application, making sure a business owner has the appropriate devices to support it, and having a dedicated staff member just for scans, among other issues.

The Pancyprian Association of Supermarkets (Pasype) echoed this call. In a letter to Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas made public on Friday, Pasype also noted that the deadline for compulsory implementation of the CovScan was approaching and asked that instructions be given the soonest possible on the implementation of the measure so that businesses can prepare, thus avoiding inconvenience to consumers.

The association also asked to be immediately informed about the population groups that may be excluded.

Pasype said that it had disagreed from the beginning with the implementation of this measure in retail food stores and continued to do so.

Nevertheless, it said that it agreed with Keve and Oev that businesses should not be responsible for implementing and checking the measure as it is not the job of businesses to police members of the public.

Where the association disagrees most strongly is any move for additional measures to support the specific measure, such as technical equipment and infrastructure that would create practical problems for businesses and lead to additional costs, it added.

The CovScan application is available for free only for later versions of Android smart devices 8.1.  It is not available for Apple devices for the time being.

Checks through the application are carried out by scanning the QR code that appears on the bearer’s certificate and presents the validity test results. Printed certificates will also be accepted.

If it is green, the certificate is valid and means that the holder has completed their vaccination or has recovered from Covid-19. Yellow or Orange means the certificate is valid and the holder has undergone PCR or rapid test with a negative result.

Red means the certificate is invalid.

Checks will remain manual for third country nationals who have certificates from a non-EU country.

Businesses that do not check customers for a SafePass face hefty fines.