Tourism authorities have not given the go-ahead to any mass events, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo has said after a series of large-scale festivals set dates for late summer.

At least three weekend party events are currently advertising events planned for mid-August to September, raising health concerns among some people on social media.

Bartolo said that mass activities will only take place if they are allowed by health authorities and under recommended guidelines. 

“I can confirm that there is no blessing from the ministry or Malta Tourism Authority for mass activities to take place,” he said on Monday.

 

“The balance between the health of the Maltese and Gozitan people, and the prospects of our country’s economic recovery, remains our first priority.”

A spokesperson told Times of Malta that the Malta Tourism Authority has also not provided financial support for event organisers to begin marketing the festivals. 

There is currently a ban on all gatherings and no guidance has been issued on when mass events will be deemed safe to resume.

Prime Minister Robert Abela and the health ministry have repeatedly said it is too early to discuss a timeline for mass events, although weddings have been given a tentative date of June 1 to resume. 

Last year ex-tourism minister Julia Farrugia Portelli came under fire for supporting the planning of four major musical festivals, which were later cancelled following a furore.

However, one year on, the situation is different.

Health Minister Chris Fearne said last Saturday that he expects Malta to reach the EU's vaccination target by June, with every adult in the country offered a COVID-19 vaccine by August. 

In this vacuum of information, three music festivals have already set dates for weekend parties.

The Glitch Festival 2021 is planned for mid-August, Lost and Found for the first weekend of September and Drumcode Festival also for September. 

Tickets for Lost and Found 2021, one of the most popular festivals in Malta, are now available online and back in March, Drumcode Festival posted that they tickets were already sold out for the festivals.

Times of Malta approached all three event organisers for comment.

A spokesperson for Glitch said they are ready to follow "any health protocol made available to us" and confirmed that they will "guarantee a refund to customers should the festival be postponed once again". 

"We have no green light by the authorities," the spokesman said.

Organisers of Lost and Found and Drumcode festivals had not replied at the time of writing. 

Meanwhile, the organisers of Bora Bora Ibiza Malta resort said they would not be hosting events this summer. 

A calendar of events slated for June was being advertised on the website of Bora Bora Ibiza Malta Resort in St Paul's Bay on Friday morning. However, it was removed after Times of Malta contacted the organisers to inquire about the activities.

The events for people staying at the clubbing resort included a pool party slated for June 8.

"We will not be hosting any events this summer," Rodney Pisani, general manager of Pebbles Resort, which is hosting the venture, told Times of Malta. 

"Our layout will be tables and sunbeds laid out according to social distancing regulations, so there will not be an actual dancefloor or people moving freely, but a controlled environment.”

He said that the resort will only be open to in-house guests, the pool will also have its own capacity of people and regulations and there will be no bar service. 

Pisani said that the Bora Bora Ibiza Malta resort will operate like other hotels and will follow the same health protocols.

“We are going beyond the health protocols there are currently, and ensuring a safe environment for our guests.”

When asked whether there will be live DJs present, he said that discussions are currently being held regarding music for the resort. 

“As I mentioned before there will be no dancefloor: no one can just walk into the resort, and in-house guests cannot walk around freely or order at the bar. We will be taking guests' orders and delivering them to their table.”

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