Cyprus relaxes COVID-19 restrictions, introduces coronapass

The Minister of Health, Mr Constantinos Ioannou, gives a press conference on the decisions of the Council of Ministers regarding the lifting of the measures for COVID-19.

Cyprus is to reopen most businesses next week after a two-week lockdown imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the government said Thursday.

The government also announced in a statement that a so-called “coronapass” will be introduced to enable people to enter hospitality venues, shopping malls and retail shops.

The pass means that the holder has received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose, or has contracted the virus in the past six months or has a valid 72-hour old negative PCR or rapid test.

The statement, issued after a cabinet meeting, said people will be free to move without having to request permission via SMS, but a curfew will remain in force between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. after the end of the current lockdown at midnight on Sunday.

Students of all grades will also return to class as of Monday after a 15-day holiday recess, provided that they and their teachers will have a negative coronavirus test.

People will also be able to go to the beaches and meet in groups of up to 10 in public places and in private houses.

Further relaxations of virus restrictions will come into force as of May 17, when weddings and other gatherings of up to 200 people outdoors will be allowed, while casinos will be permitted to operate at 30 percent of their capacity.

Cinemas and theaters can operate with a maximum attendance of 50 people until May 17, and after that at 30 percent of their capacity — provided that people attending will have a “coronapass.”

Private businesses will continue to run with 30 percent of their staff present, but as of May 17, 50 percent of staff can be physically present.

Cyprus is counting on vaccination as a means of returning to normality. The Health Ministry has said that up to 60 percent of the population will have received at least one vaccine dose by the end of June, when the tourism business, which provides about 25 percent to the Cypriot economy, is expected to come back to life.