[WATCH] Restaurants, snack bars restricted to takeaway and delivery, Prime Minister announces

New measures include limiting inside family gatherings to four households, mass organised events banned apart from weddings and religious activities, hospital visits stopped and all contact sports for under-16 stopped 

Restaurants and snack bars will only be allowed to carry out take-away services under new restrictions announced by government.  

The new regulation will come into force tomorrow.  

The Prime Minister Robert Abela was addressing a press conference in light of a recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.  

On Thursday a record 362 new coronavirus cases were registered, bringing the total number of active cases to 3,128.  

Under new regulation, mass gatherings will be prohibited unless for weddings and religious activities.  

Abela also announced that no more than four different households will be allowed to congregate in one private gathering. Breach of the rule will carry a €100 fine. 

He also said government workers will be going into telework. The PM called on the private sector to encourage teleworking.  

The wage supplement will also be extended to June, with restaurants, snack bars and kiosks to going on full wage supplement.  

Contact sports for under 16-year-olds have also been banned. Non-contact sports can continue.  

Addressing the press conference, Health Minister Chris Fearne said the spread was aggravated within restaurants, leading government to roll out new restrictions related to the sector.   

He also said that private gatherings also led to a rise in cases.   

The health minister said a variant of the COVID-19 virus is also spreading rapidly among young children.   

Fearne said that government will be introducing new testing kits which are able to identify variants immediately.  

The new PCR testing kits that have been imported that will show in real time which of the patients who test positive have the UK variant. 

Asked whether Public Health Superintendet Charmaine Gauci should resign in light of the recent surge in cases, PM Robert Abela said she and other health authorities were there to help the country through the pandemic.   

He also insisted all decisions have been taken in line with scientific and medical facts.  

She has been crucial to the country’s strategy in approaching the pandemic, Abela said.   

“As a public health covid team, we have recommended the decisions which need to be taken. This is a virus which is changing every day, with a situation which needs to be taken. The pandemic is a country-wide effort,” Gauci said.   

Measures announced:

  • Restaurants, snacks bars restricted to takeaway and delivery.
  • House events must not exceed four households. Those breaking the rule will be fined €100.
  • Public service workers to work from home where possible. Private employers urged to do the same.
  • Contact sport for kids under-16 will be stopped.
  • Hospital visits stopped.