Cyprus proceeds with phase 3 of lockdown easing

The government of Cyprus on Wednesday confirmed the further relaxation of coronavirus lockdown but made no decision on bringing forward the fourth phase of the country’s gradual rollback of restrictions, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said.

However, he said that the third phase will last from June 9 to June 24, thereby shortening the period for the application of the measures by three weeks.

He added that this leaves open the possibility of relaxing some of the measures earlier than planned, depending on the development of the epidemiological situation.

Speaking after a meeting of the Council of Ministers, which approved the easing of restrictions, Ioannou said that on June 9 flights to and from 19 countries will resume, all hotel facilities as well as shopping malls, department stores and outdoor cinemas and theaters will reopen and ports will allow the disembarkation of tourists from cruise ships.

Some hotels in seaside resorts have also reopened offering discount prices to local guests for a three-day holiday period starting on Saturday.

An official of the Hoteliers Association, Doros Takkas, said that most hotels will not reopen for customers before June 20. They will wait for flight bookings and reservations to build up in response to their discount offers.

He also said that with the United Kingdom, Russia and Sweden not included in the list of countries from where tourist arrivals will be allowed, it would be difficult for several hotels to reopen for a few guests only.

These three countries account for more than 55 percent of tourists holidaying in Cyprus.

He urged hotel owners to open their establishments even if this would mean losing money in the first month, as they would send the message that tourists can book a holiday in Cyprus.

Ioannou said that swimming pools will reopen sooner than planned, as of June 5, while casinos will reopen on June 13 and restaurants will receive indoor guests despite reservations voiced by some officials, as these facilities group many people close together.

“If people understand that they should take measures of self-protection, such as personal hygiene and keeping social distancing, then there would be no reason for concern,” Ioannou said.

Theme parks, water parks and amusement parks are also scheduled to reopen on June 13, along with gyms and dance schools, kindergartens, nurseries, children’s clubs, outdoor playgrounds and summer schools.

Ioannou said that wedding receptions, a multi-million-euro business, as well as graduation ceremonies, festivals and concerts will be allowed as of Sept. 1.