The Malta Independent 18 May 2022, Wednesday

New Covid-19 rules come into force today

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 17 January 2022, 09:25 Last update: about 5 months ago

New Covid-19 rules come into force today and among other things, people will require a valid vaccination certificate to enter a number of establishments.

The establishments where a valid Covid-19 vaccine certificate must be presented are: bars, clubs or kazini, restaurants, snack bars, cinemas, theatres, casinos, bingo halls or gaming parlours, sports events, gyms or fitness centres, public swimming pools, spas and saunas, organised mass events, exhibitions. Establishments or event organisers who are caught not following the new regulations are liable to a €500 fine for every breach.

Inside such establishments, a number of mitigation measures are in effect, including that masks are to be worn at all times and can only be removed when seated for eating and drinking and that no stand up events are allowed. Staff working in direct contact with patrons also need to be vaccinated, "however, they have an exemption period up to 1st February 2022 to come in line with the requirements, after which they need to be in possession of a valid vaccination certificate. Staff not in direct contact with patrons can be exempted from providing a vaccination certificate at the workplace," government documents read.

In addition, the 2m distancing between tables in restaurants and bars has been reduced to the minimum standards established through their respective establishment licenses.

Mask wearing regulations have been eased. People in groups of not more than two who have taken the booster shot no longer need to wear a mask out in the street.

A vaccine certificate is considered to be valid for three months from the second dose, or nine months from the booster dose, with an exemption being in place for people who have recently recovered from Covid-19 and therefore were unable to get the third jab. "In the case of persons unable to take their booster because they tested positive for Covid-19 in the recent past, such persons will be allowed entry to the establishments/events if they present a recognised vaccine certificate documenting that they have received the primary schedule of Covid vaccination (even if the last dose has been administered more than 3 months previously) together with their positive Covid-19 test result from a licenced laboratory or registered swabbing centre dated no more than 6 weeks prior."

Those aged between 12 and 17 are currently ineligible for the booster and therefore only need to show the two-dose certificate, while those under the age of 12 are exempted from showing any certificate.  People who had a reaction to the vaccine and have a doctor's certificate or a certificate from public health stating that due to medical reasons they cannot take the booster, as well as women who are up to three months pregnant are also exempted.

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