The phoney virus.

Calm down. I’m not suggesting that Covid 19 is a phoney. According to, as of the 19th of August 2020, the world had experienced 22,322,068 cases and 777,668 deaths. That’s very real.

We are in some sort of in-between place. A quasi-lockdown of half measures and token gestures. A phoney war on the virus.

Entry to Cyprus is still controlled. Travellers from some countries may enter freely, some only with a valid Covid test result, no more than 72 hours old, and others not at all. Cypriot Nationals and Permanent residents may return from anywhere, be tested at the airport on arrival, and must self-isolate for 14 days.

Once here, there are limits on large gatherings, so no concerts or massive night club parties. Masks are mandatory in public enclosed spaces, except bars and restaurants. The bartenders, kitchen staff and waiters however, must wear masks.

Very reassuring, on the surface at least.

When I play golf, I can do so unencumbered. I’m advised to maintain a social distance, but broadly, I can do as I please. When the round is finished, things get more complex. Follow me, on my journey.

  1. Into the pro shop. I need to replace those balls I just lost. Mask mandatory.
  2. From there to the locker room, where I must wear a mask, and may not take a shower.
  3. Now, I ascend the stairs to the General Manager’s office. Mask mandatory, unless we move 20 feet into the restaurant, where I can remove mine. He needs to keep his on, as he is staff. Unless it’s his day off.
  4. Once in the bar/restaurant, I can take my mask off definitively – until I need to leave, when technically, I should put the mask back on, as I pass through the part of the clubhouse, that is not a bar or restaurant.

I’m not complaining. There is no perfect solution, and I’m all for erring on the side of caution.

However, with bars and restaurants open, people start to feel that things are back to normal. Sort of.

Compliance with initial lockdowns was straightforward. Rules were clear. Now, interpretation and nuance has been introduced. Messages have got mixed. There is evidence that people feel protected by their masks, and no longer feel the need to maintain social distancing or careful hand hygiene.

Earlier this week, I was invited to a party at a friend’s house, scheduled for September. “Bring a bottle and a savoury dish.” A month ago, that would have been illegal. Now it’s fine. Isn’t it?

I’m sure that the people there will all have managed their risk exposure sensibly…but can I know that? People will have been extra careful with the hygiene of their “savoury dish”, wouldn’t they?

The event will be largely outdoors, which is good, and I can of course keep my distance from people, but even so, I’m inclined to decline the invitation.

Where we draw the line has become individual now. At a restaurant that I am confident is being careful, I’m happy to sit with Mrs L, and even with a friend or two. A large shared table? Not so much. Not yet. For me.