Malta is set to harshen its COVID-19 fines in response to rising virus infections, but what will this mean in terms of enforcement?
The Home Affairs Ministry informed Lovin Malta that police and LESA officials have issued 2,300 fines for COVID-19 breaches since 1st January.
This figure includes social distancing fines for being in groups of more than six and fines for not wearing masks, but does not include fines to establishments, which is the remit of the Malta Tourism Authority.
On average, it amounts to 37.8 fines issued everyday.
This is a much smaller number than what has previously been recorded. In the first week since Malta made mask-wearing mandatory everywhere last October, LESA officials administered 1,300 fines – an average of 185.7 fines a day, and this only for mask-related, not social distancing, breaches.
But with Malta now in the midst of an unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases, the pressure is growing on the government to step up enforcement of current restrictions and introduce new ones.
Prime Minister Robert Abela said today that fines will be increased and new measures will be announced imminently to contain the spread of the virus, but categorically ruled out a lockdown.
“I will keep insisting that we must strike a balance between protecting lives and livelihoods and we must understand that many livelihoods depend on their commercial establishments remaining open,” he said.
“Our measures will ensure this essential balance is maintained – they won’t be draconian but they’ll be effective to keep the medical situation under control.”
Cover photo: Police carrying out COVID-19 inspections last year. (Photo: Malta Police Force)
What do you make of these figures?