The Cabinet on Thursday agreed to move forward with a steady lifting of restrictions, as starting Monday each week will see additional relaxations culminating in the lifting of restrictions on food and drink businesses on March 16.
Announcing the Cabinet’s decisions, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the coming Sunday marks one month since the previous relaxation of measures, during which time the islandwide cumulative impact showed a slight drop reaching 164.3 per 100,000 people, but remains above the safety level set by the ECDC. Ioannou said daily cases have also stabilised, barring the slight increase observed over the past two days, with the positivity rate fluctuating at around 0.5%.
Ioannou said the Cabinet also took into account the situation at hospitals, which he said is currently manageable, but the situation could derail at any moment. Fortifying the gradual relaxation of measures is the ECDC’s three-pillar strategy of boosting rapid tests, effective contact tracing, and speeding up vaccination coverage.
Relaxations coming into effect on Monday March 1
1. First and second grades of public and private secondary and technical schools return to classrooms.
2. Resumption of operation of music schools, tutoring schools, educational centres and other afternoon activities with a maximum of two people (one student and one teacher).
3. Resumption of operation of galleries and visual arts spaces.
4. Reopening of gyms, dance schools, closed sports facilities including pools, to be governed by guidelines and protocols to be issued by the Cyprus Sports Organization.
5. Visits at nursing homes will be permitted, under the conditions set by the Labour Ministry.
6. Group training and matches involving third division teams to resume, governed by the conditions in place currently governing first and second division teams.
7. Nature paths will become accessible for exercise purposes.
8. Street vendors and open air markets that sell all products barring foodstuffs to resume.
Additional relaxations later next month
On March 8, all educational levels will be returning to school, while one week later, on March 16, food and drink businesses will resume full operation.
The health minister said the basic factor that will make or break Cyprus’ steady relaxation of restriction measures is the public’s adherence to health and safety protocols.
To achieve this goal, the Cabinet decided to prepare an action plan that will see the participation of all Ministries and Deputy Ministries, with a view of strengthening efforts of ensuring health protocols are being adhered to by purchasing the services of 260 people.
“Our goal in overseeing the implementation of the measures is not to impose fines. Our goal is to help various businesses find ways to implement the protocols correctly and effectively for their safe operation and to protect the health of their staff.