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15 Mar 2020

INTERIM MEASURES ADOPTED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CYPRUS ON MARCH 15 TO CONTAIN THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

Mandatory suspension of operations

As per the decision of the Council of Ministers dated 15.03.2020, the following businesses in the private sector shall suspend their operations:

  • Shopping malls and shops
  • Cafes, coffee shops, bars and restaurants, excluding those which deliver or can offer delivery services
  • Night clubs
  • Cinemas, theatres and show venues
  • Libraries
  • Museums, archaeological and historical venues
  • Bookmakers, casino etc.
  • Sport venues, athletic clubs, cultural institutions and clubs
  • Theme parks
  • Hair salons, beauty institute

The above businesses may continue to operate and perform administrative duties in closed doors provided they adhere to strict hygiene rules.

The following businesses shall remain open for reasons of safety and unhindered operation of the community:

  • Food retail (eg supermarkets insofar as the persons present in the same space at any given time do not exceed one person per 8m2 including employees)
  • Pharmacies
  • Private health services (clinical laboratories)
  • Public food markets
  • Bakeries and confectioneries (excluding seated service)
  • Petrol stations
  • Kiosks/Convenience shops

Retail businesses that do not fall within the suspended category may continue operations provided no more than five persons are present on the premises.

All other businesses not named above may continue operations provided they adhere to strict hygiene rules and protocols for the protection of their staff and premises.

Hotels are to suspend their operations until April 30, but may continue to operate for a period of six days from today in order to make arrangements with their guests.

No business, in the private, public or wider private sector, that serves the public must not exceed the one person per 8m2 state above.

Summary of Support Measures

  1. Special leave of absence for parents in the private sector in order to care for their children under the age of 15.

Special leave of absence may be of a duration of 4 weeks, excluding public holidays.

Leave may only be granted to one parent, provided both parents are in employment. If one of two parents is on an unemployment benefit or part of a Work Suspension Scheme then the working parent is not entitled to leave, unless the parent not in employment has fallen ill of COVID-19 or is under mandatory containment or is a disabled person.

There is no age limit for parents of disabled persons provided no state allowance for a carer is paid.

The leave will be granted to persons provided their nature of work does not allow them to work remotely or have a flexible timetable

2. Businesses who are under mandatory suspension and all businesses who will continue operation but will suffer a reduction of more than 25% of their turnover (based on their financial statements of 2019) will be entered into a Suspension of Operations Scheme and their employees will receive unemployment allowance.

3. An amount of €10mil will be allocated to small businesses of up to 5 persons in employment provided they keep their employees and have suffered a reduction of more than 25% of their turnover (based on their financial statements of 2019). The scheme provides that the business will receive a subsidy of 70% of their staff salaries.

4. Allowance shall be paid to persons employed in the Afternoon classes of the Ministry of Education

5. Sickness allowance on average €800 monthly to:

  • Persons absent from work for the protection of their health.
  • Cases of mandatory absence due to quarantine or mandatory containment.
  • Persons between the age of 63-65 who are not recipients of pension and are in employment but are in
    quarantine or mandatory containment.
  • Self employed persons shall be paid their allowance in the same way as salaried employees, i.e. on
    the fourth day of absence

6. Extension of the submission period for Social Insurance contributions for self employed persons.

7. Mobile units set up for the assistance of the elderly and vulnerable persons.

All benefits shall be granted following simplified and summary procedures.

8. Suspension of obligation for GESY contribution for two months.

9. Suspension of obligation of VAT payment for businesses whose turnover did not exceed €1mil based on their 2019 financial statements and whose turnover was reduced by more than 25%.

10. Temporary reduction of VAT from 19% to 17% for a period of two months and from 9% to 7% for a period of three and a half months

11. Extension of submission of tax declarations for those obligated to do so until the 31.03.2010 with the deadline now fixed on the 31.05.2020.

Businesses in the private sector are to make their own individual arrangements, provided the needs of their staff are considered and provided they adhere to the strict hygiene and protective measures, set above.

Travel Restrictions

Effective from Monday 16.03.2020 at 18.00 entry to the Republic of Cyprus will only be allowed to persons who are in possession of a medical certificate by an approved licensed organisation or laboratory in matters of health, certifying that the said person is not a carrier of COVID-19 virus; it being noted that the certificate must not be older than 4 days old.

Additionally, only the following categories of persons are allowed entry:

  • Cypriot citizens
  • Permanent residents of the Republic of Cyprus
  • European citizens or third country nationals working in the Republic
  • Third country nationals on an authorised mission by virtue of bilateral or multilateral conventions
  • Individual cases of European citizens or third country nationals for inevitable business obligations,
    provided they have obtained prior permission by the competent Ministry
  • European citizens or third country nationals attending educational institutions in the Republic

Every person meeting the above criteria entering the country shall be placed in specially designated isolation premises for a period of 14 days as a precautionary measure.

ATHOS DEMETRIOU ASSOCIATES LLC will closely follow all developments and shall provide regular updates on its website at www.ademetrioulaw.com.

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