Hotel in Paphos, Cyprus

Mandatory SafePass for all workers in Cyprus

Mandatory SafePass for all workers in Cyprus

New "Subsidized Summer Vacation Programme" aims to speed up the vaccination process

Against the backdrop of rapidly rising COVID-19 cases in Cyprus which hit the record daily mark of 1,081 on Tuesday, the Health Ministry has made SafePass mandatory for going to work, even for the self-employed. This means presenting either a negative PCR or a rapid antigen test not older than 72 hours, a vaccination certificate of at least one dose administered three weeks prior or proof of recovery from the virus within the last six months.

Tensions in the workplace

In response to the Health Ministry decree, the employers and industrialists federation (Oev) warned employers that they will bear the responsibility if a member of their staff is found working without a SafePass. In a circular quoted by Cyprus Mail, Oev instructed employers to “prohibit entry, the assignment of duties or carrying out works” unless employees present the required documents.

The Pan-Cyprian federation of labour (Peo) reacted to the stern warning with a placating statement on Tuesday, saying that prohibiting people from working unless they have a SafePass creates a climate of tension. The union urged employers “not to take punitive and destructive measures against the employees,” but negotiate with them to reach “commonly accepted arrangements”.

Treading troubled waters, the Council of Ministers will meet again on Friday to discuss introducing additional measures to contain the surge in coronavirus cases, a government spokesman announced on Wednesday.

Vacation scheme to stimulate vaccinations

Meanwhile, the Deputy Ministry of Tourism announced the list of tourist accommodations and offices that participate in the "Subsidized Summer Vacation Programme", effective from 15 July to 31 August. The scheme is an extension of the previous staycation stimulus package where the government covered 35 percent of the accommodation cost incurred by permanent residents between 1 June and 30 November, excluding the active summer months.

Under the new scheme, participating accommodations agree to charge no more than EUR 80 (including VAT) for a double room with breakfast per day, for a minimum stay of 3 nights. With the government rebate of 35 percent, the guest will actually pay EUR 52.

Two-pronged approach

This time the vacation scheme aims to kill two birds with one stone – give a helping hand to the local tourism industry to avert another disastrous summer season and fast-track the vaccine rollout. Beneficiaries of the plan are permanent residents who have either been vaccinated with at least one dose, or have recovered from the virus up to 180 days before checking in.

They must show proof of the above by providing, in electronic or printed form, the relevant receipts upon arrival at the accommodation of their choice. Persons under 16 years of age are exempted from this obligation.

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