Diving in Cyprus this year has continued without too much interruption since the end of May. Cyprus has done a great job in controlling the virus and we have been fortunate to be able to continue diving throughout the rest of the year so far.
At the end of May the main lockdown in Cyprus finished with limited restrictions and after a number of false starts and ongoing enquiries we were allowed to start diving again in smaller groups. Dive Centre and shop sanitizing protocols were obviously put in place with social distancing too, and strict guidance was received from the local Government and the International Diving Agencies and authorities. Equipment discinfecting procedures were also followed along with strict protocols on separate washing and storing etc.
Dive boat operators were then allowed out with more limited numbers on board and social distancing between groups. The main boats here are quite large and you stick to your own areas anyway so this was not difficult to manage.
Then we had a lot of local divers start diving again and enrol on courses and the business of day to day diving started to move again. Then by June and into the start of July as Cyprus was seen as a safe destination and the airports, hotels, shops and businesses in general started opening up again the tourists started to arrive. There were a number of category A countries that were allowed to arrive in Cyprus without any restrictions or tests and their numbers of visitors started to increase as did the amount of daily diving and courses we were doing. Cyprus and things in general seemed like they were getting back to normal again, apart of course from mask wearing in certain areas, hand cleaning, social distancing protocols etc.
Certain category B countries whose visitors have to arrive with a valid test were also arriving in bigger numbers as people just wanted to have a holiday and Cyprus has very few cases. On the 1st August the UK became a category B as their daily cases improved to the required levels and the Brits started to enquire, book and arrive in ever bigger numbers. Not to the same levels as normal but people from all parts of Europe were arriving in Cyprus and our diving got busier and busier.
These levels have maintained throughout August and slowly got busier as we head through the end of August and into the middle of September.
Diving is still as normal on all the dive sites in Cyprus with regular trips every week to Paphos, the Akamas, St Georges Island, Jubilee Shoals, the Limassol Wrecks, Zenobia wreck, Elpida wreck and so on. With Cyprus continuing to maintain it's strong control on numbers of cases and it's continued measues the half decent diving season in Cyprus looks to continue throughout the rest of the year. A lot will of course depend on developments in those countries who continue to travel to Cyprus, and the numbers are nowhere near normal, but at least we are among the lucky ones to have had a sustainable diving season which looks like it could continue until November and December all being well.
With less numbers and quieter dive sites in the main summer months it is a great time to dive in Cyprus away from all the crowds of divers.
Let's hope we finish the diving season for 2020 in this way and the situation improves for diving communities across the world in the coming months and into next year.
.....to be continued