An injunction launched by 18 business owners against Malta’s health authorities has been withdrawn, after a court heard that the restrictions will be lifted next month.
The court action was launched on 16th January, the day before controversial restrictions limiting entry to most hospitality establishments to those presenting a valid COVID vaccine pass came into force.
The first court sitting was scheduled for this Friday (today), but in the meantime, only eight days after the rules were implemented, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne announced the rules’ phasing out from February.
The plaintiffs had requested that the court stop the authorities from implementing the rules, arguing that this was needed to protect their fundamental and commercial rights.
Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci testified in the first hearing of the case on Friday Morning, justifying the introduction of the measure amidst rising COVID cases as a better alternative to closing all establishments: “As cases started to decrease, measures could start being relaxed,” she said.
She also revealed that the legal notices repealing the restrictions have already been drafted, and that staff are working on publishing revised standards for effected establishments.
The rules had proved to be extremely divisive, with a number of establishments closing out of protest, and leading hospitality lobbying groups also coming out against them.
Speaking to BusinessNow.mt over the last week, several businesses described the Government’s decision to U-turn as bittersweet – torn between anger and relief.
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