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Coronavirus: ministry issues more detail on lockdown diktats

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Photo: CNA

The health ministry on Friday released a list of clarifications following the new lockdown announced earlier in the day.

  • According to the ministry, private and public nurseries and kindergartens must suspend operations. Special schools may continue operations based on instructions to be issued by the labour ministry.
  • Social gatherings are banned, including lunch and dinner parties in homes for weddings and christenings.
  • An exception was made for Easter Sunday (May 2) where members of up to two families may gather in homes given that they do not exceed 10 people, including minors. The one SMS restriction applies also for Easter Sunday.
  • Just for the Easter long weekend, between April 29 and May 3, people may travel to another property they own in another district, such as their holiday home. They must send an SMS choosing category 8.
  • During the lockdown, the presence in homes of other people than those permanently residing there is allowed for carers of children and people with disabilities, for the period the parents/guardians are at work.
  • The same applies for those who help people who are unable to take care of themselves and professionals such as electricians, plumbers, domestic workers, gardeners, painters, physiotherapists, speech therapists, nurses etc.
  • Gatherings in public spaces such as public squares, parks, picnic sites, dams, marinas, beaches, pedestrian areas are banned. Access is only allowed in parks, linear parks and beaches solely for exercise, provided not more than two people go there and within a reasonable period of time. For example, a karate athlete can train at the beach or a park, but only with his or her trainer. The same applies for exercise at the beach or a park with or without equipment such as TRX, step, fit ball, weightlifting.
  • Swimming at sea is allowed but within the time limit allowed after sending an SMS and given that not more than two people can be together.
  • The following business must suspend operations: hairdressers, barber shops, beauty and tattoo parlours, theatres, cinemas, open-air amphitheatres, bars, cafes, restaurants, entertainment venues, malls, department stores, playgrounds, theme parks, luna parks, paintball and go-karts venues, archaeological sites, museums, zoos, natural habitats, betting shops, casinos, driving schools, gyms, dance and other such schools, and car dealerships. In the case of car dealerships, their garage section can remain open for car services as well as car repair shops and other related businesses, including those offering MOT services.
  • As regards retail, businesses selling essential items such as pharmacies, supermarkets, mini-markets, fruit-and-vegetable markets, bakeries, fish markets and butcher shops, can remain open. Some businesses such as petrol stations, cleaners, nurseries and flower shops and businesses selling medical equipment, may also remain open.
  • Shops selling items related with the construction sector may only serve professionals such as plumbers, electricians and builders. They are not allowed to serve the wider public. The rest of retail businesses can only operate online. This includes businesses selling clothes, shoes, cosmetics, electrical appliances, and toys.
  • Pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery shops, mini markets, fish-markets, and butcher shops may only serve people over 65 and people with disabilities until 9am.
  • Open-air street markets that sell foodstuff may operate with 50 per cent of their capacity. Street vendors selling food and beverage such as sandwich canteens, ice cream trucks and sellers of fruit and vegetable can continue operations as long as they have a permit from the competent local authority. They can offer take-away and delivery services but not serve seated customers.

 

More clarifications concerning measures announced for after May 10, are expected to be issued at a later stage.  The ministry is planning to seek proof of Covid recovery, vaccination or testing, a sort of ‘freedom pass’ when it comes to visiting venues and shops but it has not yet clarified whether supermarkets will be included in this.

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