Traditionally, most businesses in Cyprus used to close for a fortnight at the start of August. Shops have big sales in July (January is the only other time of year they're allowed major sales), then close down for the first couple of weeks of August, to give the owners a break in the mountains, or just at home with their families.
But even in the (nearly) ten years we've been in Cyprus, things have changed. Supermarkets always stayed open during August, but ten years ago - even five years ago - they still shut for siesta time (1pm-4pm) from June to August. No longer. They now open at about 7am and stay open until 7pm five days per week, and until 3.30pm on Wednesdays.
While some businesses continue to take the two-week August break, many more seem to stay open now. Of course, hotels and restaurants wouldn't close at this time of year when there are so many tourists, but there are more shops open than closed, or so it seems. Our favourite art/stationery shop is closed, as are several hairdressers and computer stores.
But whereas building work also used to stop in Cyprus during this period, there seems to be more of it happening this year. Our neighbours are having a huge amount of renovation - they've gone away, and there are workmen ripping out old units, mixing cement and carrying in bricks from about 6am each morning. Perhaps they're builders who are on holiday from another business....