For the month of February, restaurants will have an 11pm curfew, and will not be allowed to open before 6am.
Prime Minister Robert Abela addressed a press conference on Wednesday to announce new measures and the extension of existing measures. He described how the month of February is particular, with January being an exam period for students and a quiet month for the general population, which tends to lead to higher social activity in February.
He said that this February has to be different, and asked families to act responsibly and businesses to continue making sacrifices for a short time more.
Dr Abela said that snack bars will continue to have restrictions until the end of February, where they are not allowed to serve alcohol. He confirmed that for Carnival weekend, between 12-14th February, there will be no festivities or celebrations.
With regards to accommodation, he said the Malta Tourism Authority will be carrying out further inspections to ensure that there are no more people gathered than there are registered beds. Concern has been raised at the high number of bookings in Gozo for Carnival weekend, a similar situation to the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
For the Gozo ferry, temperatures will be taken before boarding from 11-17th February. Passengers are required to stay in their vehicles for the duration of the journey, while enforcement agents will ensure that those travelling without cars will remain socially distanced.
Malta has consistently registered triple-digit daily new COVID-19 cases since 3rd January, with the most recent spike mainly attributed to social gatherings over the festive period as well as the drop in temperature due to the winter season. A more transmissible COVID variant first discovered in the UK has also been a cause for concern.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Robert Abela confirmed that Malta’s bars and restaurants would remain shut beyond 1st February. During Wednesday’s press conference, Dr Abela said an initially announced €1 million aid package to aid bars and nightclub owners will be increased to €2.2 million.
The move is intended to contain the spread of COVID-19, with triple-digit daily increases remaining consistent following the Christmas holiday period.
Bars and clubs were ordered shut at the end of October when Malta’s second wave of infections had spiked. Initially, they were set to reopen on 1st December, but the authorities then extended closure for another two months, until end January.
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