Non-essential businesses and shops to reopen on 26 April

Government unveils plan to lift COVID-19 measures


Government has opted for a cautious relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, starting with a staggered reopening of schools from next Monday.

Non-essential shops and services will have to wait until 26 April for them to reopen with mitigation protocols, while no date has yet been set for the reopening of bars and restaurants.

Prime Minister Robert Abela said in a press conference on Wednesday that the lifting of restrictions was based on scientific evidence and very cautious.

“During different stages of the pandemic we had to take different decisions according to the phase of the pandemic,” Abela said, adding that the measures may be tightened depending on how the infection rate develops.

The Prime Minister said government will shortly announce its mass vaccination programme for the rest of the population.

“I understand that many would like the country to reopen as soon as possible but let’s remain cautious,” Abela warned.

Health Minister Chris Fearne Fearne explained that the government’s top priority remains health.

“Health was always our priority when introducing and easing measures, followed by education,” he said.

Fearne said that children cannot miss out on schools for another year. He said that 18,200 persons working in the education setting have received at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

The reopening for tourism from 1 June will depend on whether Malta can control its infection numbers, he added.

“Tourism is important for economic recovery and by keeping our numbers low we will be able to be on the UK’s green light for travellers to come here,” Fearne said.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said decisions on relaxing measures will depend on the positivity rate, the seven-day moving average of new infections, and hospitalisations. She did not give numbers for these parameters that would trigger the particular responses.

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