Cyprus is preparing to axe COVID-19 curbs ahead of Easter and summer travel, removing the outdoor face mask mandate and the need to show a vaccination or recovery certificate to enter places like museums and shops. Entry rules will also be eased for unvaccinated visitors.

White sandy beaches, nature trails, vineyards, a buzzing nightlife, and world-class archaeological sites, Cyprus⁠—the mythological birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite⁠—has much to entice visitors. It's a popular Mediterranean destination year-round but particularly during spring and summer when temperatures rise and the water is balmy enough for snorkeling and bathing.

Like its neighbor Greece, Cyprus has operated strict coronavirus policies at its borders and on the ground throughout the pandemic that are now starting to gradually ease.

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Genethliou Mitellla street in Limassol, Cyprus
Cyprus will remove its outdoor mask mandate on April 11 © Getty Images/iStockphoto

One such move is the removal of the outdoor face mask next week. Currently people are required to wear masks in any outdoor public setting, even on the beach unless they're staying put on their towel or sun lounger. As of April 11, that rule will no longer apply, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said Thursday via the Associated Press

Then, a week later on April 18, people will no longer need to show vaccination or recovery certificates to enter shops, art galleries, museums, and festivals. Cinemas and theaters will also return to 100% capacity.

Cyprus will also relax its entry rules on April 18, removing the requirement for unvaccinated passengers to take a test upon arrival.

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What are the entry rules for Cyprus?

It generally depends on where you're coming from. Cyprus categorizes countries into green (low-risk) and red (high-risk) lists. Very few countries are on the green list; most are on the red. The United Kingdom is on the red list and passengers arriving from there must show a vaccination or recovery certificate.

Anyone over 12 who's unvaccinated must take a PCR test 72 hours prior to departure or an antigen test 24 hours prior. Upon arrival, those who are 12 and over and unvaccinated must take another test and isolate (for roughly three hours) while awaiting results, though this rule will be scrapped on April 18.

The same rules apply to people coming from the United States and those arriving from most other countries.

To be deemed fully vaccinated, people aged 18 and over must have received their booster shot if more than 270 days have passed since their last dose of the primary vaccine course. Those aged between 12 and 17 are considered fully vaccinated if they've had two shots (or one in the case of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

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Columns and ruins of ancient Kourion with clouds and blue sky, Episcopi, Cyprus
Archaeological sites like Kourion are welcoming visitors © Getty Images/iStockphoto

Do I need to fill in any forms?

Yes, anyone aged 18 and over, irrespective of where they're coming from, must complete a Cyprus Flight Pass before travel. However, the government has confirmed this will no longer be required starting April 18.

Do I have to wear a face mask in Cyprus?

Yes. Currently face masks are required in both indoor and outdoor settings, including beaches. Starting April 11, the outdoor mask mandate will end but you'll still be required to wear one on public transport and indoors in places such as restaurants, supermarkets, bars and museums.

Are vaccine passports required in public venues?

Yes, you'll need to show your vaccine certificate to enter bars, hotels and restaurants, though after Easter they'll no longer be required in shops, museums, and art galleries. Visitors can present their vaccination status through the Cyprus Flight Pass form (those from the EU can present their EU digital COVID certificates). It's also required to board public transport.

Those who aren't fully vaccinated can present a lab-produced PCR or antigen test no more than 72 hours or 48 hours old respectively. The rules apply to anyone over the age of 12.

Cypriot freediver Angelos Savvas swims through the MUSAN underwater sculpture park
MUSAN is a must-visit © Getty Images

Is there anything new to visit in Cyprus in 2022?

The Museum of Underwater Sculpture in Cyprus (MUSAN) opened off the coast of Agia Napa in September 2021 when most visitors were away. The underwater park is made up of 93 sculptures by environmentalist and award-winning sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, whose previous work includes Mexico's Isla Mujeres National Marine Park and is well worth a visit.

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