The Ministry of Health has released updated guidelines for the mitigation of the spread of COVID in non-essential businesses set to reopen on 26th April.
The new Mandatory Standard and Guidances provides a comprehensive list of measures that businesses must comply with in order to control the spread of COVID.
Some key points from the updated guidelines are as follows:
- Retail shops and lotto booths are restricted to allow only one individual (including staff) into the retail area, per four square metre area, except in the case of businesses which are smaller than four square metres, and that can have one member of staff and one customer inside.
- Comparably, in 2020, guidelines stated that businesses smaller than eight metres were eligible for this exemption.
- Establishments continue to be required to provide alcohol hand-rubs at their entry points.
- Similarly, businesses are required to indicate with visible markings outside and inside their venue, two-metre distances that customers must respect.
- With regards to shopping malls, they are expected to carry out temperature checks on customers, denying entry to those with temperatures of 37.2°C and above.
- They are also required to sterilise common areas regularly and ensure that any events, once authorised, held in shopping malls follow the relevant guidelines.
- Changing rooms are permitted to open, and whilst the guidelines do not recommend that clothes are tried on, if they are, it says that changing rooms will need to be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
- Hair salons and barbers must ensure that their maximum capacity of clients inside the salon at any one time is one person per four square metres (including staff), whereas in the comparable document issued in 2020, this was one customer per 10 square metres, excluding staff.
- Workstations and styling chairs must be kept at least two metres from each other, or otherwise separated by an acrylic or tempered glass barrier of at least two metres high.
- A key difference between the latest guideline document and that issued when these businesses were reopening after the first lockdown, is that the shaving and restyling of beard is allowed this time, as long as appointments are no longer than 15 minutes, whereas previously they were banned.
- For both salons and beauticians, adequate time is required to be provided between appointments to allow workspaces to be cleaned between clients.
- Steam treatments are not permitted.
A full and up-to-date list of health guidelines can be found on health.gov.mt.
Non-essential retail shops and services were ordered to close on 10th March to stem rapidly increasing COVID case numbers.
At the beginning of April, with the spread of COVID seemingly restrained, and Malta’s vaccine rollout continuing at breakneck speed, the Government announced that non-essential retail shops and services would be permitted to reopen from 26th April.
The Government has not yet revealed when other businesses closed due to COVID, such as those in the hospitality industry will be able to reopen, but according to Economy Minister Silvio Schembri, an announcement can be expected in coming days on a further relaxation of restrictions.