At a press conference on Wednesday announcing the lifting of some COVID-19 restrictions following a dip in daily COVID-19 transmission rates, Prime Minister Robert Abela said “it is premature to speak about events at this stage.”
When questioned by journalists, he said that the Government’s approach is based “on science, prudence and on priorities – which are health first, and education. One must see how the situation evolves in the coming weeks and months, and decisions on events perceived to be riskier will be taken at the opportune moment, guided by science”.
With regards to gatherings, Prime Minister Abela announced earlier today that weddings may resume come 1st June, in line with previous protocols (seated only, no dancefloor and distanced tables). In addition, churches may reopen in mid-April, however, no mention was made on the lifting of a temporary ban on mass gatherings in general.
A legal notice allowing for a maximum of 100 people indoors and 300 people outdoors is currently suspended while theatre performances, concerts and all forms of mass gatherings and events are under a temporary ban.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association (MEIA) issued a statement calling for a tiered approach with regards to a COVID exit roadmap.
“The first proposed step is the reintroduction of the mitigation measures that were in place in March this year for both seated events and for the provision of arts education. This will ensure that seated events for up to 100 people can take place with all the established protocols.
“The protocols imposed by our sectors, namely for arts education and venues, continue to show how well-designed measures can limit the spread of the virus. A return to arts education will also provide children and young people with essential training in the arts for the final term of the scholastic year.”
In its statement, the MEIA stressed that its members have taken the lead to develop guidelines with Public Health Authorities “which have been successfully implemented by professional operators in the sectors to ensure the safety of artists, crew, students and the public”.
The MEIA said that a proposed roadmap will be published in the coming days, and will include a tiered plan for audience numbers which would be limited and scaled accordingly before herd immunity is reached, whilst having the mitigation measures in place.
“MEIA understands that mass gatherings in the thousands is not a realistic proposal due to the numerous emerging variants, however smaller small-scale events are.
“Rigid border control is still the ultimate priority to avoid the spread of the new variants alongside electronic certification of vaccination both from tourists as well as locals with regards to events.”
The MEIA went on to reiterate “that an immediate release of all measures, repeating what happened last summer will continue to sustain further damage to the industry”.
“We reiterate the need for strict enforcement supported by clear guidelines published with sufficient advance notice and political will to secure a level playing field for all industries without jeopardising all that has been achieved to date.
“We firmly believe that the arts and entertainment are essential to the wellbeing of our communities and the lives and livelihood of professionals in the sectors must be protected in the process of recovery.”
In a statement following Wednesday morning’s press conference addressed by Dr Abela, the MEIA said it is currently seeking clarifications on the latest measures, and expressed concern on “the lack of clarity and communication with industry associations”.
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