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Here's how social events will restart gradually as of next month

Is this the news you’ve been waiting for? As of 5 July 2021, a myriad of social and cultural events will be permitted to take place across the Maltese Islands. Before you get too excited, there are a few conditions and restrictions we have to go through first.

Which restrictions will be in place?

controlled entrances

Firstly, such events will have to take place in enclosed areas, with controlled entrance and exit points. This applies for both indoor, as well as outdoor events. Also, no tickets are to be sold at the door of any events.

Admittance for the vaccinated

In terms of entrance, only fully vaccinated people will be admitted into these events, a process that will be facilitated through the COVID-19 vaccination certificate, which can be downloaded from here, 14 days after your second vaccine dose.

This rule does not only apply to the attendees. All crew who are working behind the scenes at all of these events, must also have a vaccination certificate. Organisers must check certificates and test results at entrances using electronic scanners and have the right to deny entry to people who do not present their vaccination certificates. Organisers can sign up for the system here.

Masks or no masks?

Chris Fearne and Charmaine Gauci

This might not be what you want to hear, but masks must be worn at all times and no smoking will be allowed during events. Masks can only be removed when seated.

Sit down or stand up?

Health minister Chris Fearne went on to confirm that for now, only sit-down events will be allowed, so as to ensure social distancing and other preventative measures. Superintendent of public health Charmaine Gauci added that no breaks or intermissions will be permitted during the events and all food and drink must be served at table.

Event capacity

Here’s where things get a little tricky. In terms of capacity, these events will be limited to one person per four square metres. Outside areas must also ensure that there is a 5-10 metre space surrounding the event, to avoid crowds gathering outside the venue. Fearne added that this number could increase over time, depending on the COVID-19 situation as time wears on. That being said, the events will be subject to capping. From 5 July, the maximum capacity at any social or cultural event will be capped at 100 people. If all goes well, the cap will increase to 150 on 15 July and eventually, to 200 by 2 August. After all, “we cant have a situation like Malta had last year, where one event ruins everything,” said Fearne.

Risk assessments

For every single event, a risk assessment form will have to be filled out by the organisers, which will be made available on the Malta Tourism Authority’s website as of next week.

some other things

Charmaine Gauci also announced that events will not be allowed to take place at residential properties, and organisers will not be able to rent a property and organise their events there. She also emphasised the importance of staggered entry, proper seating and where applicable, a maximum of six people at each table.

What about those who are not vaccinated?

In a nutshell, those who opt not to get vaccinated will not be permitted into events. In defence of this rule, Chris Fearne said: “We have two choices. Either to not open at all, or else to gradually reopen with limitations.” Events will, in time and once the pandemic is over, return to normal, without any vaccination requirements.

For kids under the age of 5, no vaccine certificate or PCR test will need to be provided, so long as the parents or guardians attending the event with them are fully vaccinated. For those between the ages of 5 and 11, they must present evidence of a recent negative COVID-19 test result. Children aged 12 and over must present a vaccine certificate to be allowed entry.

With regards to pregnant women, they will also have to present a recent negative PCR test, together with a doctor’s note certifying them as pregnant, in order to be admitted into the event.

What about the entertainment and arts sector?

Good question. Fearne announced that Cabinet agreed to certain activities to restart last month, with the vaccine certificate being used to test-run the reopening. He confirmed that discussions were indeed underway with those involved in the entertainment and arts sector, so that they can open in a safe manner.

What do you think of the update?