The Cyprus government announced a controversial new measure that would reopen businesses and return some liberties to the island nation’s citizens by introducing a “Coronapass” system.
The European country’s cabinet decided on Wednesday that most businesses will be allowed to reopen with the pass. Residents, upon showing their “Coronapasses,” would be authorized to enter restaurants, churches, sports games, gyms, shops, and other venues starting Monday, but a night curfew will remain, CyprusMail reported.
The “Coronapass” indicates proof of a 72-hour-old negative test for COVID-19, vaccination three weeks prior, or having been infected with the virus within the past six months.
“Lockdowns are not the solution; we cannot keep the economy and society shut for too long,” said Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou, FinancialMirror reported.
“We need to cooperate, learn to live in a new reality, follow the measures and stay safe. Otherwise, we will constantly have the same problems.”
Beauticians and hairdressers won’t need the pass to operate, and meetings in public areas such as parks and beaches will be permitted as long as the number is less than 10, regardless of age.
The “Coronapass” will be required at religious venues, dinners, weddings, and other outdoor receptions with a 200 limit for seated attendees from May 17, and on June 1, events will be allowed indoors given people show their pass.
Private businesses can operate with 30 percent of their staff’s attendance, and 50 percent on May 17, if they have the pass.
Theaters and Cinemas can run with a maximum of 50 people in attendance until May 17, after which 30 percent of their capacity will be permitted indoors, under the same condition.
With the new regulations, the curfew will be from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., exempting medical emergencies and workers who can present a “Confirmation for Employee’s Movement” form.
Residents in Cyprus have experienced some of the most draconian lockdown measures. Previously, they had only been allowed to leave their homes once a day after sending a text message, unless they were visiting a vaccination center. After the “Coronapass” system is implemented, they won’t need to send an SMS to go out.
The Cypriot government is close to getting 60 percent of the population vaccinated by the end of June.
People cannot obtain a “Coronapass” through antibody tests or self-test kits. Ioannou declared that the only way to register is to be confirmed by a government health official or authorized pharmacy, reported Knews.
The new restrictions are being condemned over its unconstitutionality and private data issues.
The Cyprus Bar Association, a group of over 2,700 advocates, called the idea unconstitutional.
The association’s personal data commissioner asked to be rigorously briefed over the measure’s development ahead, according to In-Cyprus.
President of Democratic Rally Averof Neophytou, the governing party in Cyprus, conveyed disapproval to the measure, saying that the principle of proportionality was to be observed.
Ioannou commented: “let the courts decide whether the CoronPass is unconstitutional or not.”