The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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The Ultimate Guide to a Covid-friendly Summer

Bettina Borg Monday, 7 June 2021, 09:30 Last update: about 2 years ago

With summer around the corner, Maltese and Gozitans are gearing up to for an enjoyable season while staying safe and respecting health regulations.

With an abundance of Covid measures issued by the health authorities – all of which are in flux – it can be challenging to keep up with the latest protocols.

Here are the most recent regulations for June and July, as well as any other indications of restrictions beyond then.

Do note that these regulations and directives have been announced as of 5th June 2021, and may be subject to change throughout the course of summer.

 

Masks

Throughout June, the wearing of a medical or cloth mask or a face visor is mandatory when in public, both in outdoor and indoor spaces, health authorities have said.

If one is caught without a mask, they must pay a fine of 100 for each and every instance they are caught without a mask.

The only exception to this rule is the beach, where taking off one’s mask is no longer enforced. This is because wet masks are not effective.

While mask-wearing won’t be regulated on beaches, it is still recommended.

As from 1st July, if the case numbers permit, fully vaccinated people will be allowed to stay outdoors without a mask. Similar to the situation on beaches, mask-wearing will still be recommended in public, even if one is fully vaccinated.

This rule will only be applicable to sole individuals or groups of two, in which case both persons must be fully vaccinated to remove their masks. Masks will remain obligatory for groups over two and for entering establishments.

Those who have not been vaccinated or only received one dose of the vaccine are required to continue wearing their masks from this date onwards.

 

Meeting friends

As of Monday, six members from different households are able to meet outside. Individuals must wear masks in each other’s company.

Masks can only be removed when at the beach or when seated at a bar or restaurant.

Additionally, six members from different households will also be able to sit at the same table at a restaurant or bar from the aforementioned date.

A maximum of four households will be allowed to meet indoors at one’s residence. 

 

Swimming

As mentioned previously, mask-wearing will not be regulated on beaches.

Thus, people will not need to wear their masks until immediately before they swim, unless they wish to do so.

Groups at the beach must be limited to groups of six, as of 7th June.

Public pools will be open until 8PM, however activities not tied to swimming will be forbidden.

Splash and Fun Water Park, located in Bahar ic-Caghaq, will be open this summer and will abide to health protocols. For the time being, only pools will be in use in the park. Slides are thus off-limits.

 

Bars and restaurants

As of 7th June, restaurants, snack bars, bars and band clubs will be able to have up to six people per table and will stay open until midnight.

More than six people will be allowed at one table in the eventuality that there are more than six members in a family or in one household.

Bars and band clubs will utilize a restaurant framework, whereby customers will be seated at a table, and will be unable to linger around the establishment and congregate with other as they please.

Music must be kept at a low volume, in order that customers do not raise their voices when speaking to each other. This could increase the spread of the virus, with moisture moving between customers and, by extension, between households.

While singers are permitted at restaurants, DJs are not allowed.

 

Events

Weddings will be held with up to 100 people indoors and 300 people outdoors. In both instances, guests must be seated.

Exhibitions and museums will be open, with health protocols in place. Cinema screenings will also be held as of 7th June.

Mass events and spontaneous activities where one cannot control who is attending are not amongst those which will be allowed to take place in the foreseeable future.

As of July and August, limited and controlled activities and events will be allowed. This includes cultural, entertainment and social events.

While Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne has not confirmed what these events will include exactly, he has said that they will be accessible to fully vaccinated people who present a vaccine certificate.

Village feasts will not be held in June, however discussions are on-going between health authorities and the Curia to address the measures around village feasts in the next few months. This could hint at the reopening of feasts later in the summer.

Further information on events will be provided within the month, Fearne has confirmed.

 

Travel

Maltese who wish to travel outside of Malta will need to check with the regulations of other countries to see if they are required to present a negative polymerase-chain reaction (PCR) test before boarding a plane or upon arrival.

As it stands, Malta’s vaccine certificate is not recognized in states other than Malta, although bilateral agreements to recognize other vaccine certificates are currently on-going.

Maltese who are fully vaccinated will be able to benefit from the vaccine certificate, which can be downloaded online or printed. The certificate, amongst other things, will be used to facilitate travel.

Those who hold the certificate will not need to undergo a PCR test before entering Malta on their return.

No countries are currently on Malta’s green list, meaning that all countries are either marked as amber or red.

Travellers returning to Malta from amber countries are required to submit a negative PCR test taken no less than 72 hours before boarding a flight to Malta, or else present a vaccine certificate showing that they have been vaccinated.

As for red countries, travel is only allowed for Maltese citizens or those who have a valid residence permit to Malta.

Travellers must also present a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) for contact tracing purposes in case a positive test is detected on-board a flight.

If a traveller happens to arrive in Malta without either of these forms of proof, they will have to undergo a PCR test upon arrival against a fee of 120. Additionally, they will also need to go into mandatory quarantine.

Children under the ages of five will be exempt from presenting proof that they have been vaccinated or have received a negative PCR test.

The digital green passport has not been given approval yet, however Fearne has said that Malta has all the necessary technology and preparations in place to start using the passport once it is approved by the European Union.

Brussels plans on starting to issue the certificate in June, in time for the EU’s summer vacation period.

The green passport will act as a certificate showing the bearer’s vaccination status or Covid-19 test results and will allow them to easily travel without restrictions across the EU.

 

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