Famagusta district court closed down Protaras’ beach bar Nava for a week on Tuesday after videos emerged showing the bar was packed with people partying in defiance of coronavirus measures.
Justice Minister George Savvides said the operations were suspended following an appeal by police to the court that the bar was operating without a licence.
Savvides said on social media that he hoped a bill, tabled last week, to place hefty fines and allow for businesses to be suspended if they violated coronavirus measures would be passed at the next session of parliament.
Images and video surfaced over the weekend, showing Nava packed full of people partying.
The court ordered it suspension until June 16.
Police said the bar was warned five times about operating and all warnings were disregarded.
Police spokesman Christos Andreou said on Monday despite warnings from police, and the owner “continued to repeatedly display blatant negligence and disobedience to the decrees surrounding quarantine law.”
On Tuesday police also filed nine other cases concerning businesses: five for violating health regulations issued to stop the spread of coronavirus and four for places operating without a licence.
All the cases are expected to be tried on June 16.
Reports also said police are attempting to identify individuals at Nava over the weekend to issue them fines.
Videos of people partying at the bar circulated on Sunday depicting dozens of people dancing, prompting the ire of both justice and health ministers.
Although the pictures were believed to be from Saturday, and despite the condemnation, the bar did nothing to adhere to the coronavirus measures and went on to operate the same way on Sunday.
“Such images concern us a lot. The strategy for lifting restrictions is based on the responsibility of the public and not only on policing and issuing hefty fines, which is yet to be decided in parliament,” Ioannou.
He added with such behaviour ‘setbacks’ were unavoidable.
Last week, Savvides said a bill hiking in-court penalties more than 15-fold for businesses that violate Covid-19 restrictions was set to go to parliament for a vote.
The bill provides for a fine of up to €50,000 and one years in jail. Prior, the penalty had a maximum six-month prison sentence and a fine of up to €3,000.
On top, a second new bill provides for staggered out-of-court fines for businesses owners or managers that do not comply. They will also see a steep increase in the fine, which is now €300 but will be increased to €2,000 for first-time violations, €4,000 for a second violation and €8,000 for a third.
From the fourth violation or even earlier, “if this is deemed appropriate” it will be possible to file a criminal case in court, and at the same time without notification police can impose an immediate suspension of the business, Savvides told reporters after a meeting of the House legal affairs committee.