Opinions

A cautious re-opening approach

The number of increasing daily active cases in Malta underscored the need for tougher restrictions which have brought the figures down to manageable levels. Following an encouraging streak of days with low double-digit figures, many turned their heads towards Government to understand what the adopted course of action would be.

As expected, the Government announced that some restrictions would be relieved, however a cautious approach would be adopted. As some may have expected, the re-opening of restaurants and non-essential services outlets, will need to wait a while longer.

On the immediate agenda for the Government, is the re-opening of schools which will take place in a staggered approach. Elective surgeries are also towards the top of the list. The gathering of people in public has been limited to two, whilst those in households will be that of four.

For restaurants and bars, a day is yet to be established for their re-opening. It is expected however, that restaurants would open before bars. The dates selected for re-opening will heavily depend on how the pandemic progresses. The Government also gave an update regarding the vouchers which are intended to stimulate economic activity, yet no date has been decided for distribution. It is believed that these will be distributed once all outlets have opened to ensure that all businesses benefit. Masses in churches will be allowed, yet with mitigation protocols.

Shops that offer what is classified as non-essential services will re-open on the 26th of April with mitigation measures in place.

Commenting on the latest series of this lifting of restrictions, the Prime Minister Robert Abela stated that these actions are based on scientific evidence and are very cautious. He also indicated that the measures may be tightened depending on how the pandemic develops. The Government continues to emphasise that the people’s health remains the utmost priority.

The re-opening of tourism is earmarked for the first of June, yet this will depend on how well Malta manages its number of daily cases. Maintaining good levels will allow Malta to remain on the UK’s green list for travel. Such priority is given to this market, as normally it represents a substantial amount of business for Malta.

At the current stage, Malta is applying a cautious defensive approach aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic, whilst using the vaccination programme as its offensive strategy. Utilising this balance will allow to keep deaths as low as possible, whilst achieving herd immunity in the coming months.

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