Chris Fearne

Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne announced the long-awaited protocols for standing events, which include the requirement for revellers to be masked at all times.

He addressed a press conference on Thursday afternoon together with National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government Minister Jose Herrera.

The rule will come as a surprise to many, as authorities had only previously mentioned that standing events will be open to fully vaccinated people with reduced capacity.

From 6th September, outdoor events can take place for a maximum of 100 persons at venues with a minimum size of 200 square metres.

From 13th September, indoor standing events will be permitted, and also limited to 100 fully vaccinated persons.

Minister Fearne also spoke of the Government’s two pilot events to take place at the end of September and the start of October for vaccinated guests. All those in attendance will be required to take a PCR COVID test days after so that authorities can gather the relevant data and reduce/increase restrictions for such gatherings accordingly.

With regards to seated events, from 13th September, such events with a maximum of 100 guests may reduce the distance between tables from two metres to one.

Health Authority timeline for seated events

For all events, organisers must identify themselves with the authorities and must use a risk assessment tool found here. They must then submit the filled assessment to [email protected] at least 10 days prior to the event.

All those attending events must book prior to the day, with no sale of tickets allowed at the door. Organisers must verify vaccine certificates by authentication with the authorities’ system. Temperatures must be taken at the door and hand sanitiser must be present at entrance.

Booster shots

Minister Fearne also spoke about booster shots to the COVID vaccine, where he shared that residents of elderly homes across Malta and Gozo will be offered a third shot as from next Monday, 6th September.

Next, immuno-suppressed individuals will receive an appointment by post to receive their booster shot.

As from the start of October, all residents of Malta and Gozo aged 70 and over will start to receive appointments for their third jab.

Minister Fearne explained that data is showing how immunity gained from the vaccine wanes after some time, and, while elderly vaccinated persons who have tested positive for COVID are not showing the serious symptoms they once did, there is a need for a boost to immunity via the vaccine. He said this was particularly the case due to the harm being caused by the Delta variant.

He referred to two separate clusters, of nine and five vaccinated persons each, currently in two homes for the elderly. He said this shows the need for a booster dose in order to ensure Malta’s health system is not overloaded with infections from the highly contagious Delta variant.

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