Restaurants, outdoor or otherwise, will open up this Friday, as will beachsides lidos and other similar eateries.
Food is an ingredient that binds Maltese people together and lunch or dinner tables often offer a rich source of social connection on the island. So how will going out to eat look like under the new COVID-19 measures after restrictions are lifted?
Lovin Malta has answers to your burning questions below, but the full 73-page document for Malta’s tourism sector can be found here.
1. So how many people can you be?
Tables will be limited to groups of not more than six persons, as per according to social distancing measures. You can only be more than six if you are from the same household. There are no distancing measures for this group.
Nearby tables will be kept at least two metres apart. However, the backs of chairs will maintain a minimum one-metre distance.
Outdoor restaurants will need to limit the number of people on their premises. However, no exact specifics have been provided so far.
2. Will you need to wear a mask?
That was not made entirely clear. However, it seems that you will not have to wear a mask if you are sitting outdoors. When it comes to being indoors, the same rules applied to retail outlets could apply.
Alcohol dispensers must be made available at the entrance, other public areas, and the kitchen. They would need to be checked by staff every hour.
3. Will staff need to wear a mask?
Yes. Staff will need to wear either masks or visors. They will also need to practice physical distancing from clients and wash their hands regularly.
Gloves, disposable gowns, closed shoes, and facial protection will also need to be made available just in case a suspected infected person shows symptoms on site.
High contact areas, like door handles, will need to be disinfected once every hour. There are also limits on AC use to sustain healthy airflow.
A restaurant following all the measures will get an MTA certified sticker. Random visits will take place. If a restaurant breaches these measures twice, they will be closed down.
4. Can we still use cutlery?
Yes. But after every sitting all dishes, silverware, and glassware must be washed and disinfected in a dishwashing machine, even if they haven’t been used.
Tablecloths and napkins have to be changed.
Manual washing will only be allowed if there is a wash, disinfect, and rinse process in place. Drying will only be allowed using disposable paper towels.
5. Are there any particular dishes you should not eat?
Everything is in the clear, and there are no particular rules on the types of food people will be allowed to consume.
Buffet service, however, is strictly prohibited.
6. And what about the bathroom?
There are restrictions there too. Toilets must also be disinfected every hour and must be limited to a maximum of four persons at a time.
No airflow dryers will be allowed inside bathrooms, and only disposable papers towels can be provided.
7. Are only outdoor restaurants allowed to open?
No. Indoor restaurants will also be allowed to open, but only if they do not have outdoor seating. There will a client limit set at one per four square metres.
Bars are not allowed to open just yet. However, band clubs (Kazin) will be allowed to reopen.
8. What about beach lidos, establishments, or similar concessions?
They’re also allowed to open, and staff are expected to follow the same stringent hygiene measures and seat distancing rules imposed on restaurants.
Indoor pools are not allowed to open.
9. So what’s different with them?
Umbrellas, sunbeds, chairs and other equipment to be disinfected after every visitor leaves.
There’s also a one-person limit on each subbed. There will also need to be a two-metre distance in every direction between every one umbrella, two sunbed unit.
10. And what if you have children?
Children are still allowed at restaurants, beach lidos, swimming pools and the rest. However, child play areas are strictly prohibited, and they’ll need to remain at the table until the meal is over.
In the cases of beach lidos and other seaside establishments, children must be reminded to respect social distancing.
11. So, you’re a smoker?
You’re covered too. Cigarette vending machines will be allowed, but they’ll need to have a hand sanitizers beside them.
However, you’re not allowed to smoke on a table outside, you’ll need to be at least ten metres away from the nearest table.
What do you make of the new rules? Comment below