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The New(er) COVID-19 restrictions: explained
We’re feeling the same exact way you are right now. The recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Malta has forced the closure of restaurants, snack bars and the like for a second time since March 2020. There’s more. Before we get started, however, it’s important to note that all the measures listed below are in addition to those already in place and will be in effect until April 11, 2021 (as it stands).
Here’s a run-through of all the restrictions that were added to the list yesterday:
Non-essential shops and services
What exactly classifies as a non-essential shop and/or service? Well, anything you can think of really. Clothes shops, beauty shops, furniture and jewellery shops, toyshops, florists, hairdressers, barbers and tattoo parlours have all closed their doors today. Supermarkets and pharmacies, of course, can remain open and offer their services.
Visits to the sister island of Gozo have been a topic of conversation for a while now. During the press conference, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that crossings to Gozo will be limited to essential travel and those who own property on the island ONLY.
Activities and places of interest
Much like last year’s restrictive measures, pools, cinemas, museums and theatres are closed until the 11 April. What’s more, all organised sports activities are also banned completely.
Just a few days ago, the Prime Minister reiterated that all mass events were banned, except for weddings and religious activities. Under the new regulations, all are banned, except for funerals, which must take place with particular restrictions in place.
Also, groups gathering in public are now limited to four as opposed to six, as the law stood previously.
Any and all elective and non-urgent operations taking place at hospital are postponed.
Schools are to close and lessons are to shift online. This measure is to be enforced as of Monday 15 March, as opposed to all the other measures, which came into effect today.
With regards to all shops and services that are being forcibly closed by the new measures, Abela said that the full wage supplement will be extended to them. Robert Abela announced the new restrictions yesterday evening, as new infections hit a record of no less than 510 in one day.
“The aim of the measures is first and foremost to ease the pressure on the health services, reduce the spread of infection and increase the rate of vaccination,” he said.
According to the Public Health Authorities, the UK variant of COVID-19 is now the predominant virus in Malta, accounting for more than 60% of all new cases. It is said that the variant is more infectious and has contributed greatly to the surge in cases. Health Minister Chris Fearne said: “the appeal is for people not to congregate… this is a very difficult period for everyone but if we all pull the same rope, we can come out of this.”
What are your thoughts on the new COVID-19 measures?