[WATCH] Government unveils COVID-19 reopening plan in stages until June

Government unveils COVID-19 reopening plan • From 24 May, restaurant and snack bars can stay open until midnight, and contact sports can resume for persons over 17

Restaurant and snack bars can stay open until midnight from 24 May
Restaurant and snack bars can stay open until midnight from 24 May

Plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions:

17 May:

  • The elderly will be allowed more visitors for longer periods.

24 May:

  • Restaurant and snack bars can stay open until midnight.
  • Swimming pools can be opened until 8pm; there should be no non-swimming activities.
  • Gyms can reopen but no classes allowed.
  • Day centres will reopen. 
  • Contact sports can resume for people over 17.

1 June:

  • Weddings up to 100 inside and 300 outside will be able to go ahead. 
  • English language schools will be allowed to open.
  • Masks do not need to be worn on beaches. 

7 June: 

  • Restaurant and snack bars can increase the number of people on each table from 4 to 6.
  • Cinemas and theatres can open.
  • Bars can open. 
  • Team sports can go ahead without spectators. 
  • Contact sports for children and youths can resume. 
  • Summer schools can open. 
  • Public gatherings increase from 4 to 6 persons. 

Health Minister Chris Fearne said nine cases of COVID-19 were registered on Thursday.

There are currently 260 active cases.

Fearne warned that the pandemic was still raging across the world; however, the situation was stable in Malta.

There are currently 23 people with COVID-19 at Mater Dei Hospital and three people in the ITU.

COVID-19 variants: 

  • Five cases of the South African Variant.
  • 20 cases of the Brazilian variant.
  • No cases of the Indian variant.
  • 67% of cases are the British variant.

Fearne said the authorities are currently waiting for permission from the European Medicines Agency to vaccinate young people between the ages of 12 and 16.

He also revealed that Johnson & Johnson has begun to be administered on the island. Malta now has 10,000 doses of this single-dose vaccine.

He said 51% of the 30-39 year age group had signed up and registered for an appointment to get vaccinated. 

Fearne said they are still essential, but eventually, the use of masks will be removed. For now, it is still necessary to wear masks in public places. However, he said that from 1 June, masks would not have to be worn at the beach.

On mass activities, Fearne said they would not take place in early summer. He said the situation must be observed before a decision can be made on this. 

Fearne said in the coming days, the Minister of Economy would announce when the vouchers would be handed out.

Fearne clarified that from 1 June, Malta would accept tourists with a vaccination certificate or who have submitted a negative test before boarding the aircraft.

Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said mothers who are breastfeeding babies could get the vaccine as well. Every vaccine being given in Malta is safe for these mothers, she said. 

Gauci said there had been no clusters in schools since they opened. She said this stemmed from mitigation measures and also from the fact that teachers are vaccinated. 

Gaudi also said only 0.6% of those vaccinated contracted COVID-19.