The Malta Independent 5 December 2021, Sunday

TMID Editorial: Covid-19 event protocols need to be for everyone, not the select few

Wednesday, 24 November 2021, 08:31 Last update: about 10 days ago

The inconsistent implementation and enforcement of the government’s Covid-19 protocols, particularly for events, has been a significant bone of contention for a number of months.

Such inconsistencies, which have been prevalent for months now, have led to different communities wondering why there is discrimination being shown in allowing certain events and not others.

One such instance of this came about this past week, when the parish priest of St. George in Qormi Fr. Mario Mangion took to Facebook to wonder why people were allowed to gather for the President’s Fun Run and were, at the same time, not allowed to gather for a religious procession.

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Indeed, the President’s Fun Run, which took place last Sunday, saw 7,000 people participating across walks in 58 localities across Malta and Gozo, with the aim being of gather 100 participants in each locality to take part in the charity event.

Feasts and religious processions meanwhile remain prohibited – with the Cospicua feast which takes place in December being the latest major casualty of these measures.

One also need not forget about the SiGMA conference – a conference which in theory as per Malta’s current event protocols probably shouldn’t have been allowed to be held in the first place – and the flagrant breaches of health protocols that came with it, as reported extensively by this newspaper in the past few days.

People like Fr. Mangion are right to feel aggrieved by the selective enforcement and implementation which is happening when it comes to Covid-19 protocols on events. It does amount to discrimination in favour of certain events over others. 

The solution however – even given the current situation with Covid-19 case numbers -  is not to just accommodate everyone and let everybody do as they please so that everyone is happy.

The solution is to effectively enforce the protocols which do exist, and enforce them equally for everyone. 

Just because 600 gaming investors are coming to a summit, for instance, it doesn’t give the organisers some sort of God given right to do as they please and not follow the protocols which are in place for everyone else.

The same can be said for the President’s Fun Run.  It is no doubt a noble cause, but why should it be allowed to take place when other events which are similar in their characteristics are not?

Regulations are there to be followed – and they should be followed, and enforced equally for everyone.

As things stand, that famous rule from George Orwell’s Animal Farm where ‘some animals are more equal than others’ really springs to mind when taking into consideration how authorities have decided on what events to allow and what not to.

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