PM addresses press conference at Castille

More measures will be eased from the 10th May; non-contact sport may resume without spectators, catechism lessons to continue and other extra curricula subjects. This was announced this morning by Prime Minister Robert Abela during a press conference. He also said that restaurants and snack bars may open till 17.00, and then offer take-away service.  Only four persons can sit around a table. Travel restrictions between Malta and Gozo will also be removed, and markets can start being set up again.

Dr Abela stated that the recent weeks saw low rates of positive cases following the decision taken by authorities and sacrifices made. Tomorrow, as planned, will see the removal of measures including the opening of non-essential shops and museums, the number of guests from four different households will go up to four in residential homes and visits to the hospital and Mt Carmel are now permitted. Also from tomorrow, numbers meeting together in public can go up to four.

Dr Abela added that over 100,000 persons have now received the second dose of the anti-covid vaccine, while it was announced that 45 million euro in vouchers of 60 euro and 40 euro will be distributed to the people within a few weeks.

The Prime Minister added that the target is that on the 10th June, the country opens for tourists and work is underway so that, while priority will be given to people’s health, activity is generated in the summer for the Maltese and Gozitans.
Covid situation
Deputy Prime Minister Fearne said that, compared with other countries where the pandemic is increasing, the situation in Malta is under control with only three patients recovering from the virus in ITU, while there are 35 persons in Mater Dei’s wards. He announced that 25 new covid cases emerged during the past 24 hours, and insisted that we should continue to aggressively vaccinate persons in Malta.
Maltese nationals who have been vaccinated can travel to other countries with which bilateral arrangements have been made, and can travel without restrictions from next month. The same goes for tourists. Those without a vaccination certificate have to present a PCR negative test. The Deputy Prime Minister stated that mass activities will not be held in June, and the vaccination certificate will become effective in May.
Shops and services
Professor Gauci stated that present instructions have to remain with mitigation measures. She added that operators or owners of outlets are not to admit persons who are unwell. The maximum number of persons in a shop cannot exceed one person for every square metre, and a notice to this effect should be affixed outside the shop. The Superintendent again reiterated on the importance of the use of hand sanitiser and the wearing of masks even inside establishments, Changing rooms may be used but these have to be sanitised after each use. Clothes and shoes which are tried on have to be quarantined for 72 hours afterwards. Perspex barriers have to be erected between clients in hairdressing outlets. Steam-operated procedures should not be carried out, and this for the safety of both clients and staff. As regards make-up, clients’ brushes or disposable brushes should be used.
Weddings can start being held again after 1 June, with measures applicable to weddings which will be published shortly. Up to 300 guests are permitted at outdoor venues, and up to 100 in indoor venues. Professor Gauci stated that the one-person-per-four-square-metres rule also applies, and added that weddings have to follow restaurant protocols, with bars and buffets not being permitted.
Wearing of masks
Asked about whether people have to wear a mask when they go to the beach, Professor Gauci stated that according to studies, the importance of mask-wearing remains until immunity is achieved. She further stated that they are awaiting the results of a study from Israel.