We might be living in a strange new world of social distancing but house parties, while certainly not encouraged by the health authorities, are actually still legal.
And some people are still organising them.
An Mġarr resident spoke to Lovin Malta of his frustration after reporting a party in a private field near his home to the police last night, only to be told that the revellers weren’t breaking the law.
“There were definitely over 25 people in the field and around eight cars parked there but the police replied that if they are in a private property, they are within the law,” he told Lovin Malta. “This defeats the whole purpose of the law. I and many others are stuck at home and cannot even meet our parents, but then you find people who are throwing parties for all their friends. It’s ridiculous.”
The police clarified with Lovin Malta that people gathering in groups of more than three in private spaces cannot be fined €100, just as those who gather in public spaces are.
“It must be clarified that the legal notice regulates against gatherings of more than three people in public spaces,” a police spokesperson said. “There where instances where the Malta Police Force received reports regarding photos showing more than three people in places which were not public and so Legal Notice 112 does not apply in such cases.”
“There might also be circumstances that require a gathering of more than three people, for instance in the case of an emergency or for law enforcement purposes. Certain Police sections require the presence of more than three officers for security reasons.”
“In these cases, the legal notice does not apply. However, these are exceptions.”
At her daily press briefing this afternoon, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said enforcement on public gatherings cannot be extended to private spaces.
“It’s just like how laws against smoking in public places cannot be extended to legislate against people smoking at home because it can’t be enforced,” she said. “If people are gathering in private, then they’re putting both themselves and their guests at risk. We’ve been urging people to avoid these situations.”
Cover photo: Left: Stock photo, Right: Malta Police Force
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