Updated 6.45pm, adds MHRA statement

Bars, gyms and the law courts will reopen on Friday while the airports and ports will re-open on July 1, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday.

Speaking on One Radio, he said details and a formal announcement on lifting the remaining COVID-19 restrictive measures will be given on Monday.

He said recent statistics showed that COVID-19 was behind us. Fears about a spike in the virus numbers or a second wave had proven unfounded, he said.

The Prime Minister said measures to keep people safe will be put in place, "but we will not be sending a signal that tourists should not visit Malta due to these measures".

"These are exciting times for Malta. We are returning to normality."

Meanwhile, Virtu Ferries said on Facebook it will again be welcoming passengers and vehicles on board its ferry on July 1.

Bars, gyms and restaurants were closed down on March 17 when the government was ramping up its battle against the pandemic. 

Hundreds of restaurants and hairdressers were gradually reopened last week.

He also said that a multi-million euro budget will be held on June 8 with the aim of encouraging consumption and investment. This budget would be over and above the usual annual budget.

"Deposits over the past weeks have exploded by millions. People were saving, now is the time for that put in the bank to be spent. It makes sense to start spending now," he said.

Abela also ruled out an early election saying the government will see out its mandate till 2022.

Repubblika statement

In a statement, civil society group Repubblika condemned the Prime Minister's regular uses of the Labour Party's media to announce government decisions related to COVID-19.

Abela, it said, should learn to behave as a Prime Minister of a democratic country and of all Maltese and Gozitans.

It said his behaviour confirmed the Prime Minister did not differentiate between party and government and considered the government a tool in the hands of the Labour Party.

Chamber of Advocates

Speaking on the reopening of courts, the Chamber of Advocates said this was s as much news for the Chamber as it was for everyone else.

"We were invited to a meeting for tomorrow (Monday) at 10am with the minister and the judiciary earlier this week.  We will make a statement following tomorrow’s meeting."

Reopening airport step in right direction - MHRA 

In a statement, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association welcomed the decision to reopen the airport saying however it stood by its original position that opening it on June 15 would have served tourism better. 

MHRA president Tony Zahra said time was of essence, however, now that a decision had been taken, the sector needed to gear operations and efforts towards reigniting the economy.

The re-opening of the airport and ports would not automatically lead to pre-COVID-19 economic conditions, he said. 

Mr Zahra emphasised that hotels and restaurants still needed the government’s support to sustain the running costs of their businesses until the markets reacted to a global comeback of a new economic reality.

"The weeks ahead will be challenging and restructuring decisions need to be taken by our members to ensure job security and the feasible management of operations.”  

MHRA pledges to keep working with the Ministry of Tourism and Consumer Protection, the Malta Tourism Authority, Airmalta, Malta International Airport and all the other tourism stakeholders to ensure that Malta was promoted as a safe and enjoyable destination. 

He said Malta was now pressing the restart button and if everyone worked together smartly, it would soon be once again discussing successes. This did not mean it was going to be an easy journey as these were still uncharted waters.

"Reopening the airport and ports however is definitely a step in the right direction.”


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