A guide to the new COVID-19 restrictions in Malta

Household gatherings, face masks, exemptions, mass events, contact sports and new fines on COVID breaches

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Malta has forced the closure of restaurants and snack bars for a second time since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. 

The health authorities have also put into place a handful of new restrictions, aside from the ones that were already in place. 

MaltaToday refreshes your memory on what the COVID-19 restrictions in Malta are. 

Household gatherings 

The law mandates that groups of persons who “respectively between them live in more than four different residences shall not gather in a residential property.” 

While there was confusion regarding whether it meant four persons or four households, the legal notice clarifies that it is limiting the number of households that can gather, not the number of persons within those households. 

Any person who fails to abide by the regulation will be fined €100 for each breach. If the person admits to the offence and has paid the penalty for proceedings in front of the Commissioner for Justice, the fine shall be reduced to €50. 

Face masks 

The law states that any person shall “outside his residence” wear a medical or cloth mask or visor in a proper manner covering “the nose, mouth and chin”. This applies irrespective of whether the person is going to an indoor place or outdoors.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said in parliament that the legal notice would be amended. This will allow for people to eat, drink and smoke in public spaces, as long as they are sitting down.

Despite the changes, the temporary removal of facemasks will not be allowed if the person is walking while eating or smoking.  

Any persons found not wearing a mask in accordance with the regulation will be fined €100 for each breach. 

Who is exempt? 

Persons with “severe cognitive, physical, mental or respiratory impairments who have difficulties tolerating a mask as certified by a licensed medical practitioner” are exempt.

However, these individuals are required “at all times” to carry the relevant medical certificate exempting them from wearing a mask. 

Children up to three years are also exempt from wearing the mask. 

Mass events 

The law mandates that all mass events shall be prohibited except for wedding and religious events. However, in the case of weddings and religious events, the following requirements are in place. 

The maximum capacity of attendees shall not exceed one person per four square meters of space where the event is to be organised. Participants may gather in groups not exceeding six persons with a two-metre distance to be retained between one group of six persons and another. 

The number of guests is capped at 100 persons inside and 300 persons outdoors. 

Those who fail to abide by the regulations shall be fined €6,000 for each breach.

Restaurants, kiosks and snack bars

The law mandates that bars and clubs shall not open and shall remain closed. “Restaurants, snack bars, and kiosks shall remain closed except to provide delivery and takeaway services to the community.

Restaurants situated in hotels or other licensed accommodations may remain open to provide services to their guests.

Those who fail to abide by the regulations shall be fined €6,000 for each breach. 

Contact sports for under-16s

The law states that “Persons under the age of seventeen shall be prohibited from participating in contact sports.”

To date, there is no fine for breaching this regulation.