The Pancyprian Association of Leisure Center Owners is calling for a proper way of reopening leisure centers that will make them financially viable as well as ways to financially support companies that have been disadvantaged due to pandemic restrictive measures. Members of the Association today held a protest march to the Presidential Palace, where they delivered a resolution with their demands.
In statements before the presentation of the resolution to the President of the Republic, the President of the Association, Fanos Leventis, said that today they are fulfilling their commitment to a peaceful, symbolic protest march with the cars with two goals. The first is to put before society all the problems that have accumulated from the unjust, as they characterize it, treatment of leisure centers all this time, and the second is to bring before the State and the President of the Republic all this despair that entrepreneurs in the most deafening way for the accumulated financial burdens they carry on their backs.
As Mr. Leventis noted, what they are primarily asking for is a proper way of re-opening the companies as well as a way for the proper management of the financial burdens that have been borne in the form of debts by the companies of the leisure centers.
Asked what the Association considers to be unfair treatment, Mr. Leventis said that in essence the whole industry was victimized by the behavior of the few, and noted that anyone who violates should be punished according to the gravity of the violation. He stressed that what is of great importance is to open the leisure centers and not to close again and this date that has been set for the opening, which was also a condition on the part of the Association, is important to be observed as not even one more day the industry can withstand being closed. “It was an unfair treatment because it was not proven in any way that we are responsible and guilty for any spread of the virus,” he said.
Asked whether the main request of the Association is financial assistance to companies, Mr. Leventis said that there are two requests. The way of reopening is very important as, as he explained, the restrictions that may be imposed should be such that they will not make the operation of these spaces unsustainable. He added that no one can talk about profits as they are light years away from the day they will have profits and the purpose is to enable entrepreneurs to manage their debts.
In relation to the request of the Association for extended hours, Mr. Leventis said that based on what the Minister of Health said yesterday, he is amused by a concern if the sending of sms for transportation will be abolished, which refers to a wider schedule that will serve the industry but much more the society that thirsts to go to a leisure center.
Asked if they have been informed about the exact time when the restaurants will close, Mr. Leventis said that the authorities have not informed them yet, expressing the belief that the hours will be extended. He added that in addition to the schedule, the Association will try to achieve a sufficient number of visitors who will be able to focus on their venues. He noted that if they had previously said that 3 square meters per person did not make the spaces sustainable, there would be no businessman who would accept anything worse than that.
Asked about the position of the Association for the efforts of some to bring foreign morals, Mr. Leventis said that there is a strong concern in the industry as an attempt was made to come before them a law in which provisions were introduced that can not be accepted in any way.
He clarified that this is another branch of leisure centers, which is trying to essentially move entertainment and leisure to another part and remove leisure from restaurants, bars and cafes. “With these foreigners already, that is, to call someone who is just a restaurant or just a place for coffee and to have fun moving to some other places,” he said.
Asked about the stance of the Undersecretary of Tourism, he said that they hold the position of the Undersecretary that nothing will go to the Parliament if everything is not agreed between them, which is very positive.
The PASIKA memorandum states, among other things, that it is necessary to find ways of targeted installment suspensions to the banks, as well as access to simple procedures for lending at negligible costs with the guarantor state.
The Association also asks the President to withdraw his report to the Attorney General regarding the suspension of evictions with the ultimate goal of bringing property owners into a dialogue for a peaceful and agreed solution to the rent problem. It also calls for sound consultation on the proposed new legislation governing the operation of recreation centers as well as consultation with the Government on the reopening of recreation centers.