Malta’s decision to prioritise the return of Mass in churches over the reopening of businesses had to do with the fact that most churchgoers are elderly and have therefore already been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“One of the assessments we used to decide whether Mass should be allowed or not was that the majority of churchgoers are elderly people who have already been vaccinated,” Health Minister Chris Fearne said in response to a question by Lovin Malta at a press conference this morning.
“The decision was that, at this stage, this was the next measure to be removed. Obviously, if we witness an increase in [COVD-19 related] criteria, we’ll have to take a step back.”
As of today, 95% of over-80s, 86% of over-70s, and 76% of over-60s have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, figures Fearne hailed as being the highest rate in the EU.
Churches will be allowed to hold Mass again as of 18th April, one of a number of restrictions loosened by Prime Minister Robert Abela today.
Childcare centres, kindergarten and primary schools will open on Monday 12th April, middle schools will open on 14th April, and secondary schools on 16th April. Post-secondary and tertiary educational institutions will remain online.
Non-essential shops and services will reopen on 26th April and the two-person limit on public gatherings will increase to four that same day.
The Prime Minister didn’t set a target for when restaurants, bars and gyms can reopen, but the government intends to open the country up to tourists from 1st June.
Cover photo: Left: Health Minister Chris Fearne, Right: Archbishop Charles Scicluna (Photo: Archdiocese of Malta)