Bars and restaurants which opt to limit entry to vaccinated individuals will be allowed to further relax COVID-19 measures from next week, deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne announced this afternoon.
The distance between tables can be reduced from two metres to one and a half metres if inside and one metre if outside. The number of people that can be seated around a single table will increase from six to eight individuals. Bars and restaurants will also be able to remain open up until 3am and will be allowed to have a limited bar service.
Operators choosing to implement these updated measures will be required to verify that all patrons aged 12 and over are in possession of a valid vaccine certificate. They will also be required to ensure that all staff are also vaccinated. They can apply with the authorities this week and will be allowed to start operating under the new measures from next week.
The minister reiterated that those establishments that preferred to allow unvaccinated patrons would need to abide by the measures currently in place.
Another measure that will be relaxed is Malta’s ban on individuals who have only received one dose of a vaccine due to them having recovered from COVID-19.
Several European countries only administer one dose of the vaccine if patients have previously contracted the vaccine, but despite being issued a vaccine certificate and being considered fully-vaccinated, they have so far not been allowed to enter Malta without having to quarantine.
Fearne also said that Malta would start recognising vaccine certificates issued by Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Rwanda.
The health minister noted that restrictions were being reduced since the number of COVID-19 cases had remained relatively low despite the fact that restrictions were being reduced.
“We have maintained complete control of the pandemic. We also have a 92% of the population that is completely vaccinated,” Fearne said.
Despite this, he said it was important for Malta to remain vigilant, adding that outbreaks within the community were likely to occur given that children had returned to school.
Winter and the arrival of flu season could also see numbers increase slightly, Fearne said.
On schools, Fearne said it was clear that masks in schools protected teachers and students from the virus. He referred to a CDC report published last week which clearly showed that the number of cases in schools where children wore masks were significantly lower than they were in those where they did not.
Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci clarified that the space between desks in classrooms of children aged 12 and above would be reduced, but said that classes of younger students would continue operating under the same conditions as they did last year.
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