The Prime Minister will announce the airport reopening date in the coming days, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said.

A ban on commercial flights is in place until June 15, but Times of Malta has been informed that the airport is expected to be given the go-ahead to start operating again by July 15.

This plan was welcomed by doctors but slammed by hoteliers, who are demanding an earlier date.

Speaking on TVM's programme Xtra on Thursday, Farrugia Portelli said the government has had a target date "from day one".

"We never said there isn't a date. We said that the airport will remain closed until June 15... We do not want to set a date, and then be forced to backtrack if there is a spike [in COVID-19 cases] in some country," the minister said.

Farrugia Portelli reiterated that Malta will have a summer season that is safer than usual.

"There are protocols in place for restaurants, pools and beaches. On an international level we are discussing protocols for airports and travelling. 

"The Prime Minister will announce a date for the reopening of the airport in the coming days, and we will be treating that day as the day we will reopen in the safest possible manner."

Among others, Air Malta has already warned that anyone flying on its aircraft as from Monday will have to wear a mask.

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