Updated 1.10pm with organisers' statement
Only pregnant women and children aged from five to 11 need a COVID-19 test to visit the airshow, the organisers said on Tuesday, hours after uproar from frustrated ticket buyers.
The statement followed anger from people who demanded refunds because tests were being requested from children as young as two.
The Malta International Airshow, one of Malta’s largest outdoor events, is taking place on Saturday and Sunday after a four-year hiatus.
When the organisers announced on Facebook on Monday evening that children two-years and older needed a COVID-19 test, they caused a stir, with many saying they had not been informed of this when they purchased their tickets.
The organisers demanded that children between the ages of two and 12 years present a negative PCR test carried out up to 72 hours before the show or a negative rapid test carried out up to 24 hours before.
“Shame on you, after buying the tickets we are asked to do a swab to our children! Such rules were to be published before issuing tickets. Want refund!,” one women commented.
Others echoed her disappointment and also called for a refund.
“How can we get a refund? You cannot change the terms and conditions now that we bought tickets, just like this! We should have been informed before, I would have chosen not to attend!”
Many pointed out that the airshow’s rules go beyond the national protocols.
“Are you kidding?? So kids under five years of age enter Malta through Malta International Airport without a swab, but they will need a swab to visit the local airshow? Are you for real?,” one man wrote.
According to health authorities, children younger than five do not need a swab test to enter Malta if they are accompanied by a vaccinated parent or guardian.
“So my son (two-years-old) can easily enter Malta without the need of a test, attend the airshow at the beach (open-air with lots of people close to each other I bet) without the need of a test, but has to test for the static display (open air)?!,” one man argued.
“Seriously, who comes up with this stuff?! Way to push away even further future generations.”
"Kids have lost so much, the least the authorities could do is to help them catch up with cultural, sports, outdoor, social, artistic activities not to punish them even further," one woman said.
The organisers said that only vaccinated persons will be allowed entry and masks must be worn at all times.
Pregnant women can enter when presenting a PCR test taken up to 72 hours before the show or a rapid test taken up to 24 hours before.
But in a statement published on Facebook minutes after Times of Malta published the story, the organisers said they understood the people's concern but were duty-bound to abide by health protocols.
They said, however, that while tests were still being required from pregnant women and children aged five to 11, younger ones did not require them if they were accompanied by a fully-vaccinated adult.
They said that should any ticket-holders wish to apply for refund, they may send an email with their request, including their ticket reference number here.