Businesses withdraw injunction on COVID restrictions after government relaxes measures

Prof. Charmaine Gauci tells court that laws, lifting the restrictions, have already been drafted and should come into force next month

An injunction filed by 18 business owners against the Superintendent of Public Health, over new COVID-19 restrictions that were due to come into force on January 17 has been withdrawn this morning, after a court was told that the restrictions would be lifted next month.

The plaintiffs had requested the court to stop the authorities from implementing legal measures, including regulations which would require the public to present a valid vaccination certificate before entry to certain establishments. They argued that this measure was needed to protect their fundamental and commercial rights.

Professor Charmaine Gauci testified before the First Hall of the Civil Court, presided by madam justice Miriam Hayman this morning, as the judge began hearing evidence about the injunction, which had been filed against the Superintendent of Public Health, the Minister responsible for public health, the Commissioner of Police and the State Advocate.

From the witness stand, Prof. Gauci explained that it was very clear that cases had been increasing and so action had to be taken. “Proof of vaccination being required for entry to certain establishments was an alternative to having to close all establishments…As cases started to decrease, measures could start being relaxed,” she said.

Laws, relaxing some measures on 7 February and then further lifting restrictions on 14 February, had already been drafted, revealed the professor, who added that her staff were also working on publishing revised standards for such establishments.

“So we are inching slowly to normality then?” asked the judge. “Yes, we work with the tools we have,” replied Prof. Gauci.

In the light of the confirmation that measures were going to be lifted in the coming days, the plaintiffs presented a note in court, withdrawing their request for an injunction.

Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi, Franco Debono, Keith Borg and Edric Micallef Figallo represented the plaintiffs. State Advocate Christopher Soler and lawyer Anthony Borg appeared for the defence.