Not only did the Minister of Health not attend yesterday's meeting of the Parliamentary Audit Committee concerning the “suspension of the malls and their shops” but he did not even send a representative for a sample, which was criticized by MPs. A representative of the Malls strongly criticized the decisions taken which, as it was said by MPs, channeled the commercial traffic to other stores, creating unfair competition. It is noted that representatives of other competing companies were not invited to develop their positions.
The criticism also touched the Police, since, as it was claimed, at the time when the shopping centers were closed, in other places “there was a party” and in some cases within walking distance from the Police Station.
Members of the epidemiological team who attended the session clarified that the advisory group submits suggestions and that decisions are made by the government. In fact, the professor, Dr. George Panos, claimed that if he had been listened to, today the situation would be different.
Criticism has also been leveled at not providing a sufficient number of vaccines in relation to other countries to cover a large part of the population.
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The Malls spokesman claimed that the closure of the shops inside the malls sent citizens to competing businesses, which not only affected the malls but also led to the outbreak of cases and deaths. In fact, he submitted photos that showed a large number of people being gathered outside stores. He claimed that in a store consumers waited in line for 90 minutes to pay. He invoked. Also, the 12,000 employees in the Malls who are in financial despair and he added, that saleswomen call him and cry about the situation they are in.
The head of the epidemiological team, Konstantinos Tsioutis, said that the increase in gatherings in the houses also contributed to the outbreak of the cases. He also said that the reduction of cases is probably due to the closure of shopping malls. He also referred to the large gatherings during Black Friday. Answering a relevant question, he stated that Cyprus is not copying Greece and added that if this happened, the situation would be different.
The chairman of the Commission, Zacharias Koulias, claimed that with the decisions taken, a lot of money was channeled to specific stores.
MP Irini Charalambidou criticized the absence of the Ministry of Health from the meeting and added that questions arise about the entire management. “Measures were taken to combat the pandemic by closing businesses at the same time as overcrowding was allowed in certain areas, as evidenced by photographs presented to the Commission,” he said. He also argued that the only way to open the market and make the economy flourish again is with the vaccination program, something that Cyprus lags behind. Finally, he referred to the assumptions of members of the epidemiological team that those who traveled to Cyprus from abroad from much earlier should undergo a rapid test.
“They closed us, they saved others”
On behalf of the Malls, George Georgiou mentioned the following:
Μέτρα The measures imposed affect not only the shopping centers but also (a) 600 stores that are mainly small and medium enterprises of Cypriot interests and (b) 12,000 employees employed in them.
⦁ From a health point of view, the suspension of the operation of shopping malls pushed consumers to shop only from specific stores and department stores outside the malls, which created huge queues and overcrowding in these areas.
. Offering more alternatives to consumers would decongest retail spaces, thus contributing to the protection of consumers and the general public.
Απόφαση This decision, in addition to targeting, without any documentation, the shopping malls and the companies that house them, had a huge negative impact on the economy as it would inevitably lead to the bankruptcy of a significant number of Cypriot small and medium enterprises and the unemployment and imp .
. There is no study, no evidence to suggest that Malls have been outbreaks of the disease. On the contrary, there are many statements and reports of all members of the epidemiological team that other were the outbreaks (gatherings in homes, cafes, workplaces, schools, etc.). This is proven by the facts, as he claimed.
Απόφαση This unprecedented decision created conditions of unfair competition as all the other stores, regardless of area, continued in a very critical period in terms of sales, to operate normally.
⦁ The contribution of the shopping centers to the revenue of the state is extremely important since together with the housing companies they pay to the state on an annual basis the amount of approximately € 140 million (Value Added Tax € 80 million + Corporate Tax and Defense € 20 million . + Social Insurance, GESS and other related funds (€ 40 million).
Επι The choices made were one of the main reasons for the rapid deterioration of the health image of our country. More specifically, when on December 11, 2020 the shopping centers suspended their operation, the daily cases amounted to about 300-400 and the positivity rate was about 3%. Within 2-3 weeks, where the results of this decision became clear, the number of cases increased dramatically to 600-700 per day, with the positive rate jumping over 5%.