NICOSIA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus will reopen its airports for flights from 19 countries on June 9 and will allow hotels to reopen as of June 1, Transport, Communications and Works Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Friday.
Restart of flights is the most important step in stage three of easing restrictions following a total lockdown imposed in March as the coronavirus crisis worsened.
Karousos said that the Council of Ministers approved the lists of a total of 19 countries from which flights will be allowed on June 9, and decided to restore air connectivity in two phases.
"The first phase starts on June 9 and the second one on June 20, with different rules applied to people coming from each of the two groups of countries," Karousos said.
He said the two groups were defined according to their coronavirus epidemiological status. Group A includes Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania. Group B includes Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.
The minister said that other countries will be added to the two lists depending on the development of their epidemiological status.
Karousos said that people from countries on both lists will be allowed to board a plane only after presenting a coronavirus negative certificate of a test made within 72 hours before the flight.
Cypriots and other people permanently residing in Cyprus returning to the island will be allowed to make a COVID-19 test after arrival and will be quarantined until results are returned.
People arriving from category A countries will not be required to have a test certificate after the start of the second phase on June 20, but those coming from category B countries will still be required to have a test certificate.
Karousos said people who come from countries which are not listed in groups A or B will not be allowed to enter Cyprus, unless they have a Cypriot citizenship or are permanent residents of Cyprus or have a special permit. They will be still required to have a test certificate.
In all cases, the cost for the test will be borne by the passengers.
Karousos also said that hotels will reopen on June 1 for local people before receiving guests from other countries as of June 9. Detailed protocols as to the behavior of tourists in hotels, on beaches and during tours will be issued.
Also on Friday, the authorities issued rules for the reopening of organized beaches as of Saturday, which provide for a distance of four meters between umbrellas, and only two beds under each umbrella. Beach-goers must have their own towels on their bed. Enditem