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Malta’s reopening plan revealed

The plan to lift a myriad of COVID-19 restrictions was revealed this morning, during a press conference held by health minister Chris Fearne and superintendent of public health Charmaine Gauci.

Why wasn’t prime minister Robert Abela present for the conference, we hear you ask? He is currently in quarantine due to his wife Lydia Abela having tested positive for the virus yesterday. 

The easing of measures was presented in the form of a timeline, ranging from Monday the 10 of May, to Monday the 7 of June.

Let’s get straight to it.

as of Next Monday, 10 of June

As announced in a press conference a few weeks ago, the measures to be eased as of next Monday can be found here. In a nutshell, they include the re-opening of restaurants and snack bars till 5pm, the re-opening of open air markets, extra curricular activities and travelling between Malta and its sister island of Gozo.

According to Fearne, the country would be going ahead with the easing of the measures mentioned due to the fact that cases have remained consistently low for the last few weeks.

As of Monday 17 May

A week later, the elderly will be allowed more visitors and for longer periods of time.

As of Monday 24 May

A week later, provided that COVID-19 cases remain low and stable, restaurants and snack bars will be permitted to remain open until midnight. Also, pools can re-open until 8pm, but it was specified that non-swimming activities will not be permitted. (We’re asking ourselves what exactly that means, too).

Gyms will also be allowed to open, however no classes can take place. Day centres can re-open and contact sports for those over the age of 17 may resume once again.

As of Monday 1 June

A week later, according to the measure easing plan, weddings for up to 100 people inside and 300 people outside, will be able to go ahead and English language schools can re-open their doors.

Fearne and Gauci also addressed the ever-controversial mask-wearing issue, primarily on beaches. They announced that masks need not be worn on beaches. Though it is recommended that people do so, it will no longer be enforceable by the 1 of June.

Malta will also be inviting tourists into the country as of 1 June. That being said, travellers must have a valid vaccination certificate or submitted a negative test prior to boarding the aircraft.

As of Monday 7 June

Finally, as of 7 June, restaurants and snack bars can increase the number of people per table from four to six. Bars, cinemas and theatres can finally re-open. Team sports can go ahead without any spectators, contact sports for children and those under the age of 17 can resume, summer schools can open and public gatherings will be increased from the current four, to six.

What about the other measures?

In terms of the mandatory mask-wearing, Fearne said that they are essential, but eventually the rule will be removed. For now, it’s still necessary to wear masks in public places.

With regards to mass activities, he added that they would not be taking place in early summer. The situation must be observed first, before any decisions on mass events can be made.

With regards to the vouchers, Fearne said that the minister of economy will be announcing when the vouchers will be handed out, in the coming days.

According to the health minister, the authorities are currently waiting for permission from the European Medicines Agency to vaccinate young people between the ages of 12 and 16. He added that Johnson & Johnson has started being administered on the island. Malta currently has 10,000 doses of the single-dose jab.

What do you think of the government’s plan?