Bars and clubs to get government assistance to cover March lockdown

Tourism minister says bars and clubs will be offered further assistance for having their closure extended by yet another 30 days

Tourism minister Clayton Bartolo
Tourism minister Clayton Bartolo

Bars and band clubs be receiving additional assistance from government as they are to remain closed throughout March, as part of government’s measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, BusinessToday has learnt.

Health Minister Chris Fearne announced the extension of the closure yesterday, citing health guidelines.

Bars and social clubs were forced to close in October, after coronavirus cases in the country spiked. They were originally set to reopen before Christmas festivities but their closure was repeatedly extended to the end of February.

In January, the government announced a €2.2 million scheme to be split among bars who were forced to close down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism minister had said then that bar owners would be receiving a one-time payment of up to €2,870 to cover costs for the period they spent closed down.

When Fearne yesterday announced bars and clubs would now remain closed even throughout March. no mention was made of the assistance scheme.

But tourism minister Clayton Bartolo told BusinessToday that the €2,2 million assistance given by government only covered to the end of February.

“That scheme and the assistance offered was for the period bars and clubs would have spent closed to the end of February,” he said.

“In the coming days, government will be releasing details of additional assistance we will be offering bars and clubs.”

Under the latest scheme, commercial bars received €2,870, clubs forming part of a kazin received €1,860, while bars owned by non-political clubs received €1,260.


Fearne said that the UK variant of the COVID-19 virus made up 8% of all new Malta cases over the last week.

The health minister said that while Malta is doing well, in regards to the vaccine rollout, it was important to continue to follow health guidelines.

Fearne said that the closure for bars and band clubs would therefore be extended until the end of March.

The health minister said that following advice from experts the AstraZeneca vaccine would now be given to those aged between 55 and 65.

75 to 80-year-olds would also start receiving a vaccination invitation for appointments from 8 March.

Fearne said that care homes would see measures relaxed due to the success of the vaccine rollout.

“Those homes where 90% of the residents had the second dose will see the shields go down,” he said.

In the previous months, relatives and resident were separated by a perspex shield, and some care homes had banned visitors outright.

Fearne also explained Wednesday’s high figures were partly due to the inclusion of rapid testing resulting. 15% of cases in the last week were rapid testing results, he said.

Two deaths and 226 new cases of COVID-19 were registered yesterday.

An 84-year-old man and a 97-year-old woman died at Mater Dei Hospital, bringing the total number of deaths up to 308.

68,779 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered until Tuesday. Of these, 21,767 were second doses.   

Total recoveries stand at 18,720 while total cases registered stand at 21,532.

There are currently 2,504 active COVID-19 cases.

3,274 swab tests were carried out in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of swabs to 684,231.

An additional 1,001 rapid tests have been carried out in the past weeks.

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