The arrival of an infectious COVID-19 variant and an inability to maintain social distancing were the basis of the government’s decision to close down Malta’s restaurants, kiosks, and snack bars, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci has said.
Speaking to Lovin Malta following a press conference discussing the latest figures, Gauci said that authorities have identified two main sources of transmission: the household and social gatherings.
Gauci said that eating out makes up a chunk of the infections from social gatherings, adding that imposing stricter restrictions on people eating out is far easier.
She explained that when people eat out on the same table, social distancing is practically impossible to maintain, with diners often removing their masks.
Gauci also said that the arrival of a new infectious variant means that one positive case on the table could potentially infect all the other patrons on the table.
Yesterday, the government introduced a swathe of new mitigation measures, which included the closure of restaurants, kiosks, and snack bars as of tomorrow.
Chefs and restaurant owners across the Maltese islands expressed their disappointment that after an entire year of investing in things like perspex divisions, protective clothing and visors, hand sanitiser, and other items to be in line with guidelines, they were still being forced to close due to a lack of discipline among some segments of the population.
Over 10,500 inspections were carried out in February throughout Malta and Gozo and 42 restaurants and eateries were found in breach of COVID-19 mitigation measures.
Planned events in private houses will also be limited to a maximum of four households, with a €100 fine for every person caught in breach of the law.
Hospital visits, contact sport for children younger than 16 and mass organised events have also been banned, except for weddings and religious events.
The measures will apply till 11th April.
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