The Malta Independent 12 August 2020, Wednesday

Restaurants, hairdressers, beauticians reopen today

Albert Galea Friday, 22 May 2020, 07:55 Last update: about 4 months ago

Restaurants, hairdressers, and beauticians amongst others reopen today as restrictive measures put in place to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 continue to be relaxed.

The measures were announced on Monday evening, and are the second set of measures to be relaxed after the number of daily cases of Covid-19 dropped.

Restaurants will be allowed to seat a maximum of six people, tables would need to be a certain distance from one another, menus and wine lists should be replaced with single use ones, disposable or single-use condiments should be offered, and waiters and staff should wear face masks or visors, amongst other measures.

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Restaurants must be given a compliance sticker by the Malta Tourism Authority to re-open, and an estimated 157 restaurants are all set to open their doors for clients again today.

Meanwhile hairdressers, beauticians, barbers and nail technicians face restrictions to client entry, along with social distancing – be it in actual distance or in setting up perspex booths – measures and other sanitation measures as well.

Barbers are prohibited from shaving or restyling beards, while handheld hairdryers and other electrical equipment which requires air flow are not recommended.  Dry cuts, talcum powder, and neck brushes should also be avoided.  Temperature checks on clients must also be done, amongst other measures.

Since the announcement however, more and more question marks have begun to arise – foremost amongst those being whether the time is actually right for these measures to be relaxed.

The number of new cases found everyday has, for the most part of the last week, risen into double digits again; 91 new cases alone have been found since May 14.

Many – including unions representing healthcare professionals – have seen this as a signal that the dreaded second wave of the virus is upon Malta. The Medical Association of Malta in fact on Thursday called for the postponement of the relaxation by two weeks.

Other constituted bodies such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, and the Malta Union for Midwives and Nurses welcomed the relaxation, with the latter in particular noting their satisfaction that the restrictions put in place were rigid.

Reactions from businesses themselves has been varied however. Many restaurants have chosen not to open regardless of the relaxation measures and restrict their services to take-aways and deliveries, while the extra costs of making sure they are compliant with health authority guidelines means that hairdressers and beauty professionals might have to increase their prices.

The effect of the relaxation when it comes to the virus itself will be measured over the coming weeks as health authorities continue to analyse the appropriate next step forward.

 

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