Catering establishments to require all-clear certificate prior to welcoming clients

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Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli and MTA CEO Johan Buttigieg have provided further details on the re-opening of catering establishments as from this Friday.  “As the population returns to normality, the public will find that the places they will be visiting – whether restaurants, cafeterias or beaches – these will be safer than before the onset of the pandemic”, insisted the Minister.

Farrugia Portelli said that last year more than 155,000 Maltese travelled abroad. In view of the closure of airports, this constitutes a significant opportunity for local tourism.

Catering establishments and hotels will require a go-ahead certificate (“compliance safety protocol”) from the Authority which will need to be affixed to the entrance of the establishment. Outlets failing to observe this protocol may be stripped of their licence. The Minister said that inspections will be held simultaneous by the tourism and health authorities, with a unit within OPM ensuring coordination.

Johann Buttigieg, CEO MTA, explained that a declaration confirming that the health protocol is being observed needs to be filled in by an appointed officer on behalf of the establishment. He said that those establishments who can cater for customers on the inside and on the outside, can only do so in the latter area. Smoking will not be permitted on the outside.

Sauces, ketchups, oil and vinegar shall be provided in disposable format. Tablecloths and napkins have to be changed after every sitting. Clients will be required disinfectant gels prior to entering and leaving the dining area. Air conditioning systems need to be cleaned weekly.

Traditional clubs (każini) will be allowed to re-open, but only waiter service will be permitted, i.e. not sitting at bars.

Seating arrangements

Tables are to be limited to groups of not more than six persons or persons from the same
household.

FOR INDOOR DINING: Every person shall keep at least 2 metres from others. There shall be 1 client per 4 square metres in defined spaces, excluding staff. The tables are to be arranged so that the distance from the front of one chair to the front of the chair behind it shall be 3m apart and the back to back distance between chairs is to be 2m.

FOR OUTDOOR DINING: Every person shall keep at least 2 metres from others. Tables to be limited to groups of not more than 6 persons or persons from the same
household. Tables are to be arranged so that the distance from the front of one chair to the front of the chair behind it shall be 2m apart and the back to back distance between
chairs is set to be 1 metre.

Additional details can be found in the full rule list which is available on this document: MTA_Rules_COVID19.

Safety of workers

Employers are expected to take care of the health, safety and welfare of workers,
including themselves, and all other staff, including contractors and delivery persons,
clients and customers to outdoor catering establishments. This includes providing and
maintaining a work environment that is without risk to health and safety, providing
adequate and accessible facilities for the welfare of workers to carry out their work
and monitoring the health of workers and the conditions of the workplace for the
purpose of preventing illness or injury. Employers must minimise the risk of exposure
to COVID-19 of workers and customers by taking reasonable and practical measures
to mitigate risk.

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