Fearne Facebook

The upcoming reintroduction of mandatory mask-wearing in public spaces as of Saturday, “shouldn’t impact businesses,” according to Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne.

Speaking on Thursday at the launch of a new mental health service, Mr Fearne announced the reintroduction of mask-wearing in public spaces, even for people walking alone outdoors, but said that people will not need to wear a mask when sitting in a restaurant.

The Deputy Prime Minister also announced that Malta is reducing the time span between the second and third dose of COVID vaccines to four months, from six.

This comes as cases have remained high in recent weeks and as concerns are raised about the spread of the Omicron variant in several European countries.

In Malta, Mr Fearne stated that cases of reduced immunity and breakthrough infections have been observed.

Health authorities, he insisted, have no current plans to introduce more COVID measures, but existing guidelines should be respected.

In previous waves of the virus, Malta’s mask mandate had been a particularly contentious element of the country’s restrictions.

The rules were relaxed this summer with the impending resumption of international tourism first at beaches, then in public spaces – for vaccinated individuals traveling in groups of no more than two.

In earlier waves of restrictions, the fine for those caught not wearing a mask in public was €100, reduced to €50 if uncontested. It is unclear if this fining structure will be applied this time around.

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