Answers to frequently asked questions on what changes as of 1st March, in the framework of the strategic lifting of measures to contain the pandemic
Decisions by the Council of Ministers – 25 Feb. 2021
The Statement of the Minister of Health can be read here
1. What are the curfew hours?
Movement continues to be prohibited from 9 in the evening until 5 in the morning of the following day.
2. Under which circumstances is one allowed to move during curfew hours (9 in the evening to 5 in the morning of the next day)?
The movement of persons during curfew hours continues to be permitted for the following reasons:
- For purposes of moving to and from workplaces, with the presentation of Form A, completed and signed by the employer, which certifies the necessity for the movement during the aforementioned hours.
- For urgent purposes, such as to go to a medical centre or a hospital or a pharmacy or a veterinarian for medical emergencies and to render assistance to people who are unable to care for themselves or who need to self -isolate.
3. How many times per day will movement by exception be permitted?
Movement by exception will be permitted twice a day by sending a text message to 8998 for the reasons cited in Form B. Persons over the age of 65 may use Form B twice per day for their movement by exception. There are nine (9) categories for movement by exception via a text message.
It is clarified that for purposes of moving to and from the workplace for work purposes, no text message is required, but the employee must present Form A, signed by his/her employer.
Moreover, parents/legal guardians are not required to send a text message for the purposes of transporting a minor or a disabled person to school or a day care center.
4. What changes in the remaining categories for movement by exception via a text message, as of 1 March?
According to the decisions, there is a new addition to Category 5 concerning the movement to visit nursing homes or homes for vulnerable groups.
For movement to perform individual physical exercise/training at gyms, dance schools and other indoor sports facilities as well as nature trails, a text message must be sent while selecting Category 6.
For movement to visit organized bazaars at open-air flea markets, a text message must be sent while selecting Category 2.
For movement to visit art spaces and galleries, a text message must be sent while selecting Category 9.
All other categories remain the same.
5. Is movement between Districts allowed?
Yes, movement between Districts is permitted provided that the purpose for which the movement takes place falls within the Categories referred to in the text message, which normally does not exceed three (3) hours.
Β. Social gatherings:
6. Is access to the nature trails of the Forest Department, allowed?
Access to the nature trails of the Forest Department is permitted only for physical exercise purposes, provided that a text message is sent to 8998 (category number 6 selected) and that the reasonable timeframe of three (3) hours is upheld.
C. Training – Sports – Activities:
7. In what instances is physical exercise/personal training allowed?
Physical exercise/personal training is permitted in areas where access is allowed in accordance with the Decree in force. Specifically, access is allowed to parks, linear parks, nature trails and beaches only for the purposes of physical exercise/personal training.
Persons are allowed to move to the aforementioned areas only for physical exercise or personal training, provided that they send a text message to 8998 while selecting the option number 6, comply with the maximum timeframe allowed (3 hours), and ensure that participants in the exercise/training do not exceed two persons, excluding underage children.
As regards parks, linear parks, nature trails and beaches, it is noted that people are allowed to be present there for no other reason besides exercise.
It is underlined that in areas where people are present in order to work out, no socialization is allowed with other persons who do not reside in the same residence as them.
8. Do I need to send a text message to go to a sports facility and/or a gym and/or a dance school and/or schools of other sports in order to train?
Yes, all persons, irrespective of age, wishing to go for training to a sports facility and/or a gym and/or a dance school and/or schools of other sports, must send a text message. For personal training purposes a text message (with option number 6 selected) must be sent to 8998.
For minors who do not own a mobile phone, the parent/legal guardian must carry a signed certification for the transportation of the minor to the training/exercise venue.
9. Is the operation of indoor sports facilities allowed?
On the basis of the protocol and directions to be issued by the Cyprus Sports Organisation, the operation of indoor sports facilities for all sports is allowed, while taking into consideration the various sizes of indoor sports spaces as follows:
- The exercise shall be performed only for the purposes of personal training with a personal trainer and maintaining a physical distance.
- In indoor sports halls up to 80 sq.m. training can be performed with two persons physically present including the trainer (one to one).
- In indoor sports halls of more than 80 sq.m. and up to 200 sq.m. training can be performed with three persons physically present (one to two persons training)
- In indoor sports halls of more than 200 sq.m., training can be performed with five persons physically present (one to four persons training)
10. What is foreseen for parents who need to transport their underage children for activity purposes allowed according to the Decree?
Parents/legal guardians transporting their underage children for activity purposes allowed according to the Decree (training, private tutoring schools, educational centres, music schools etc.) must carry a certificate showing the date and time of the child’s activity along with Form B.
11. How will music schools, private tutoring schools, educational centres and other afternoon schools operate?
The operation of the aforementioned venues will be carried out with physical presence of up to two (2) persons, including the educator, namely one student and one teacher. An exception to the one to one rule can be made in the case where the students are siblings.
For instance, if two siblings are taking guitar lessons at a music school, then the lesson can be carried out with physical presence of the two students and the teacher, while upholding personal protection measures.
12. Is the carrying out of a test (PCRor rapidtest) obligatory?
The carrying out of a test (PCR or rapid test) is initially obligatory for all employees of the businesses which are reopening as of 1 March (music schools, private tutoring schools, educational centres, gyms, dance schools, sports facilities, etc).
From then on, these employees must get tested on a weekly basis, as is the case for employees in any other business (see question 17).
13. Are trainings and matches of group sports of the Third Division allowed?
Group trainings and the carrying out of matches of all the group sports of the Third Division are allowed under the preconditions valid for group sports of the First and Second Divisions, and in accordance with the protocols of the Cyprus Football Association and the Cyprus Sports Organisation. It is understood that the health protocol must be upheld, while the use of changing rooms is only permitted on the day of the match. The teams’ athletes and training/assistant staff must undergo a test (PCR or rapid test) on a weekly basis.
14. What is foreseen for the trainings of the other Divisions of the professional championships of group sports?
Athletes of teams participating in the professional championships of group sports are allowed to train, with the participation of a maximum number of five (5) persons including the coach/trainer (4+1) and a maximum number of three (3) teams per field facility.
The athletes and training/assistant staff of the teams must undergo a test (PCR or rapid test) on a weekly basis.
15. Who is responsible to oversee the implementation of the measures?
The responsibility to oversee the implementation of the measures lies with the Cyprus Sports Organisation and the competent Federations.
D. Rapid tests:
16. Who must undergo an antigen rapid test?
All employees who are active in businesses/sectors which are reopening as of 1 March, must undergo an antigen rapid test before they return to their workplace, either free through the Ministry of Health’s programme or privately at their own expense. It is noted that the teachers and staff of the school units that are reopening on 1 and 8 March, must have a negative rapid test result.
Moreover, employees in businesses/sectors must undergo an antigen rapid test on a weekly basis, as defined in question 17.
17. How long is the rapid test valid for? Should it be repeated by employees?
The result of the rapid test is valid for seven (7) days unless, in the meantime, a person develops symptoms or is classified as a contact and should therefore follow the protocol defined by the Epidemiological Monitoring Unit.
The employer/business has the responsibility of coordinating repeat tests for employees, so that at any time and on a weekly basis they have a valid rapid test, as defined below:
- For businesses/services employing up to 3 people, all employees should be tested;
- For businesses/services employing between 4 and 10 people, at least 4 employees should be tested;
- For businesses/services employing more than 10 people, at least 4 people or 20 % of employees should be tested, whichever is larger in number.
18. Which culture sectors are reopening as of 1 March?
As of 1 March art spaces and art galleries are reopening, while upholding the health protocols of the Ministry of Health.
19. How will school units reopen with the physical presence of students?
The reopening of school units with the physical presence of students will take place in two phases:
- As of 1 March the first and second grades of public and private Lyceums and Technical Schools are reopening, while upholding the relevant health protocol.
- As of 8 March, all grades of public and private Gymnasiums are reopening, while upholding the relevant health protocol.
It is noted that teachers and the rest of the school units’ staff must undergo an antigen rapid test before they return to their workplace. The rapid test must be repeated on a weekly basis, according to the provisions of the Decree. The carrying out of the test is recommended for students, but that is optional.