The closure of bars and clubs is expected to be extended past January 1, sources have told Times of Malta. Bars and clubs have been shut since the end of October, when the government introduced new restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

It was initially planned that bars and other entertainment venues would be able to reopen at the beginning of December.

Just days before that deadline, Prime Minister Robert Abela had announced the closure would be extended to the end of the year, saying the decision had been taken following consultation with Health Minister Chris Fearne.

The legal notice then issued stated that all bars and clubs shall not open for business before 6am of January 1, 2021.

Sources say they will now be ordered to keep their doors shut past that date.

Questions sent to the Health Ministry were not answered by the time of writing.

Meanwhile, bar and club owners are anxious due to the uncertainty.

“I am getting phone calls and messages from owners, some of whom are waiting for the go-ahead to open and others who are worried there may be an extension of the legal notice,” said Philip Fenech, from the Chamber for SMEs.

“I believe the government will assist in the situation, especially as there is a chance that we might see a few spikes in cases after the festive season,” he said.

“All owners are asking me the same thing, whether they will be able to open on January 1 or if they will face yet another extension to remain closed.”

Fenech said that it was impossible for owners to open overnight, as some venues would need to re-stock and needed time to prepare.

“Everyone is hopeful that numbers remain stable and they will be informed soon,” he said.

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