Malta’s bars and nightclubs are to remain shut beyond the 1st February deadline, Prime Minister Robert Abela has confirmed in comments to the Times of Malta.
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.
In comments, Prime Minister Abela said “the bars will remain closed”, just shy of a week from the 1st February deadline.
Last Sunday, Dr Abela said the Government is to announce aid measures aimed at helping bar owners shortly, a glaring indication that authorities felt it was not appropriate to reopen come 1st February.
Bar and nightclub closures have been a source of controversy over the holiday period, with the Malta Police Association raising concerns about the number of incidents outside entertainment venues in Paceville and other locations taking place, despite such types of venues having to be closed.
Restaurants have been accused of operating as bars, despite the requirement to serve food, especially in entertainment areas, with rowdy behaviour and incidents requiring police assistance.
Prime Minister Abela also confirmed that unannounced measures aimed at stemming transmission rates would be announced, and will apply throughout February, with the aim to relax measures again in March.
He said that measures would target carnival weekend, from 12-14th February, in particular.
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