Monday brings a broad lifting of COVID restrictions, taking Malta to within touching distance of post-COVID normality.
The relaxation is in line with the Government’s post-election shift to placing the impetus on personal responsibility to fight the virus, and covers the following areas:
Masks are no longer required to be worn in the vast majority of locations as of Monday. They are now only legally mandatory in hospitals, care homes and onboard flights, although Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne has confirmed that businesses will still be empowered to enforce their own mask rules.
“As long as the rules imposed are greater than the minimum set by the state, there will be no challenge or intervention by the health authorities,” he said.
Mandatory quarantine for COVID will only apply for those actually positive with the virus as of Monday, allowing businesses struggling with virus breakouts and staff shortages to breathe a sigh of relief.
This means that household contacts and primary contacts are no longer legally required to quarantine but are encouraged to get tested to ensure that they are not also positive.
For COVID positive cases, quarantine has been set at seven days, with a rapid test taken on the last day. Should the rapid test produce a positive result, the COVID positive person must quarantine for a further three days.
Travel restrictions have been gradually relaxed in preparation for what authorities and tourism operators will be a strong summer of tourism.
As of Monday, passengers arriving in Malta will no longer be required to present the dreaded passenger locator forms that have been blamed for causing long queues at Malta International Airport.
However, arrivals will still be required to present a vaccine certificate, negative test result or recovery certificate, and the country’s controversial red and dark red zone categorisations are still in place – though the first list is being steadily expanded.
All restrictions on events, both indoors and outdoors are being lifted. This includes person limits, vaccine requirements and as aforementioned, mask wearing.
Weddings are also included in this category.
This relaxation brings us as close to post-COVID normality as we’ve been since the start of the pandemic, although a number of restrictions do remain.
This includes quarantine for positive cases, the wearing of masks in certain locations, and travel restrictions meaning that arrivals from certain locations will have to quarantine after getting to Malta.
The airline also plans to introduce daily flights between Rome Fiumicino and Malta by June
The appeal process delayed the project by 122 days
Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri notes that education and awareness are the best tools to combat such threats