Malta’s bars are paying the price for a rise in COVID-19 cases with a month-long closure. However, figures show that since July, just 2.7% of all of Malta’s COVID-19 cases have come from bars, nightclubs, and Paceville.
There have been 4,586 COVID-19 cases ever since Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci began releasing holistic figures in weekly briefings that kicked off in July. Only 124 of those cases contracted the virus from bars, nightclubs, or Paceville.
When compared to other situations that ‘encourage’ transmission, bars and nightclubs have contributed to a significantly smaller number of COVID-19 cases.
Workplaces, for example, have resulted in the transmission of 260 cases (or 5.7% of total cases) since 4th July. Similarly, social gatherings have contributed to a total of 166 cases (or 3.6% of total cases) since then.
With all this in mind, a substantial portion of all COVID-19 cases are considered to be sporadic, i.e. it is unknown where these cases originated from. Therefore, it is still unclear which areas or situations are ‘to blame’ for the recent spike in cases.
Only yesterday, health authorities announced that bars in Malta are to close down for just over a month – from 29th October to 1st December. This measure was put in place in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Snack bars and kiosks will still be allowed to remain open, however, they must close down between 11pm and 5am, and cannot sell any type of alcoholic beverage.
In light of this announcement, a plethora of Maltese bar-owners have spoken out against the authorities’ decision.
“A big thank you to the authorities for giving us a three-day timeframe to get rid of our stock once more,” Beer Cave owner Estelle Degiorgio said.
“We worked so hard to abide by regulations set out and made sure everyone is enjoying themselves in a safe manner and yet, we’re forced to shut down.”
Alongside the closure of bars, yesterday health authorities also announced that effective Thursday, the limit of public social gatherings will also be reduced from ten to six people.