articles | 16 March 2020

Coronavirus: Employers federation offers further clarifications to businesses

The Employers and Industrialists Federation (Oev) on Monday morning sought to clarify some of the measures businesses must take after the government issued a slew of restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

It said that for the moment it could clarify that a department store meant a shop whose operators hold a permit from the town planning department.

Department stores, shopping malls must close from 6am Monday morning for four weeks. The same applies to shops irrespective of their nature or size inside shopping malls.

Supermarkets inside shopping malls may remain open provided that there are 8sq.m between employees and 2 metres between customers.

Other stores, e.g. clothing / footwear stores etc. located outside shopping malls that do not fall within the definition of a department store, remain open. For these stores, the maximum number of 5 employees has been set while at the same time the ratio of 1 person per 8 sq.m, including the employees, should be respected, Oev said.

Employees of shops that suspend operations will be entitled to unemployment benefit.

The compensation for those who have reduced business will be based on a 25% decrease in turnover compared with the same period last year.

Firms will be able to temporarily suspend part of their staffing without the company having to suspend its operations completely.

Businesses and organisations that accept customers , e.g. workshops, car showrooms, banks etc. as well as semi-government organisations and local authorities, may remain open provided that the ratio of 1 person per 8 sqm, including employees is respected.

Banks are private companies and have the same safeguards as announced for other businesses. They must apply the same restrictions as supermarkets.

All other businesses, e.g. construction sites, industries, offices, logistics centres, etc. do not fall under any restrictions. Only the obligation to strictly observe the necessary hygiene measures remains.

The ‘special leave’ allowance is granted to a parent with a salary of up to 2,500 euros. Workers with incomes above 2,500 euros do not qualify for a “special” allowance.

Measures concerning the temporary reduction of VAT will apply immediately after the adoption of the relevant legislation.

The reduction in electricity costs is a matter for regulation and must be dealt with later, Oev said.

Persons holding a certificate issued by laboratories having a formal agreement with the state from which they depart shall be admitted to the country. However, when they arrive they will be quarantined in a place designated by the Republic of Cyprus. Airlines will not allow boarding without a medical certificate, and if they come without a health certificate, they will not be allowed to enter Cyprus.

The government has already made that clear.

The 750 euro allowance applies to all students who stay abroad, not just those who have made airline bookings.

The functioning of the Courts will be decided later Monday.

Within the coming days, the Governor of the Central Bank is expected to announce additional support measures for SMEs, Oev said.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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