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Protocol for new ‘regime’ as tourism eyes restart

With Cyprus hoping to take the first tentative steps to reopen its tourism in the third phase of the lockdown exit strategy from June 9 to 13, authorities are working on a special protocol to govern the sector, Demetra Landou reports in Phileleftheros.

Hotels and airports are set to open between June 9 and July 13,  provided everything goes to plan.

The deputy ministry of tourism is moving on two fronts — contacts with airlines and tour operators and preparing the local sector to operate with stricter security and hygiene rules adapted to the new situation.

Cyprus will aim to attract tourists from countries that have managed to ‘clear’ themselves of the virus, with the target being for the first visitors to arrive in July.

To this end, a promotion campaign will be organised with tour operators.

A draft of a protocol to restart the sector has been drawn up by the deputy ministry for tourism and sent to stakeholders — including Hermes Airports, hotel associations, travel agents, associations of catering establishments and recreation parks and business groups for their views.

Once finalised it will go to cabinet and then the House of Representatives.

Phileleftheros reports that the protocol sets out rules among other for the operation of hotels, restaurants and car rental firms.

Issues include how many people will be allowed at swimming pools, how breakfast buffets will operate, distances at beaches and tourist coaches.

Frequent ventilation, availability of antiseptics and use of masks and gloves by staff are other issues addressed.

Airplanes – Airports

According to the deputy ministry, if there is no EU directive, boarding will be prohibited to passengers not wearing masks and gloves. Moreover, there will be thermal cameras at arrival.

Beach/ pools/ water parks

The deputy ministry is proposing sunbeds at the pool and beach are disinfected after each use and that there should be four metres distance between umbrellas. It is also suggesting a maximum number of people per square metre in the water. Staff must use gloves and masks.

Hotels

The deputy ministry is proposing compulsory spreading out of clients during check in. Lifts should be limited to four people who must wear masks. It is proposed that guests at self service buffet and bars and reception, wear masks and gloves.

Rooms will not be made available for new arrivals for six hours after the previous departure. Hotels must disinfect keys.

Catering establishments

There is a proposal to expand the hours so as to implement a maximum number of people per square metre — in this case four people per eight square metres. The deputy ministry is proposing prohibiting menus (unless one use or posted on walls and on internet). It also says that chairs, tables, and other items used by clients are disinfected after use.

Transport

The deputy ministry proposes that after each taxi ride the seats, handles etc are disinfected. Ventilation and disinfection of buses at regular intervals is require while rental cars must be disinfected on their return, including the key.  Masks, gloves and antiseptics should be compulsory for professionals and their clients, under the proposal.

Distance at beach

Swimming is currently permitted as exercise, but sunbathing and spending time on the beach is not with organised beaches set to open on June 1.

Loizos Loizou, president of the central beach committee told Phileleftheros that the current law on organised beaches stipulates that sunbeds and umbrellas can cover 50% of the space which ensure the 8 square metre rule per person. But no one knows how checks will be carried out for the remaining 50% of the beach.

Loizou said that the epidemiological team of the Health Ministry is expected to suggest disinfecting the sunbeds while another option is one-use covers.

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