Masks

The reintroductions of the law requiring people to wear face masks outside has not had a noticeable effect on businesses, according to the Malta Chamber of SMES.

Health Minister Chris Fearne announced the return of mandatory outdoor mask-wearing last week, with the law coming into effect last Saturday.

During the press conference in which he made the announcement, Dr Fearne said he did not think the new rules would have an effect on businesses in the crucial Christmas period.

So far at least, the Deputy Prime Minister’s claim seems to have been justified, as the Malta Chamber of SMEs CEO Abigail Agius Saliba told BusinessNow.mt that, as far she could tell, shoppers had not been deterred.

“In reality, the rules related to shops and other indoor spaces haven’t changed, so we don’t foresee that the new rules will have a significant impact,” Ms Agius Saliba said, adding that people had got used to wearing masks.

“I think the fact that the weather is cold has helped, since the mask keeps your face warm. If it was summer, I think people would have been less receptive to the idea of wearing masks again,” she said.

Aside from the return of face masks, the time span between the second and third dose of the COVID vaccine has been reduced from six months to four.

The weeks leading up to Christmas are a crucial period for the retail sector, while this year businesses have had to contend with staff shortages and the global supply chain crisis.

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