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Stand up events may resume after the 15th August public holiday, when the country celebrates Santa Marija, if the number of COVID-19 infections permits it, said Health Minister Chris Fearne on Monday afternoon.

Speaking during a press conference on the launch of the COVID-19 digital certificate, Minister Fearne said, “If the situation and the numbers allow us to do so, we will consider allowing standing events with small numbers after Santa Marija.”

“That way, we can continue approaching normality.”

He also announced that the number of persons allowed to attend events per bubble is planned to increase to 150 on 19th July, 200 on 2nd August, and 300 on 16th August.

Currently, organisers can only host seated events with one person per four square metres of space.

A previous cap of 100 persons was changed in the last days to permit different bubbles of 100 persons each, although each bubble must be physically separated and have its own entrance, exit, facilities and staff.

Reacting to the news, the Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association said, “As from today a cluster of 100 people can be multiplied as much as the venue can hold. We understand this is limited and logistically very challenging, but x3 clusters and above is now possible.”

It said that stand up events will be permitted from 16th August, even though Minister Fearne’s statement was less certain, given its reliance on certain conditions being met.

“We await more timelines to be announced with staggered numbers of audience clusters,” the events lobby said.

“In view of this we have lobbied for a separate grant scheme for all those who are still unable to operate.”

Despite the assistance through ticket matching and direct aid through logistical support, the increase in both size and number of clusters, and the tentative date for the resumption of stand up events, MEIA expressed its belief that the industry and its customers are “being treated differently than other industries” .

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