Guidelines for safe return to offices published
The Ministry of Health has issued guidelines for a safe return to offices. These stipulate that where possible, at least two metres need to be kept between people. There should be at least four square metres per staff member within the office.. When this is not possible, acrylic or tempered glass screens are to be used and masks or visors must be worn at all times.
Employers have been asked to encourage all workers to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or by using an 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser and to practise good personal hygiene.
Steps need to be taken to ensure that additional hygiene practices become
common place in the office. Staff need to pay special attention to hand hygiene and it is recommended that all staff wash or sanitize hands frequently.
Hand sanitising units and antibacterial wipe dispensers are low cost, easy
installations and will be essential in combating the spread of infection. Frequent cleaning and disinfection of common surfaces further reduces risk
of surface contamination spreading to healthy persons. Sufficient supplies of hand sanitizer and cleaning materials are the responsibility of the employer.
All staff members must have a personal working space. The practice in an
office of allocating desks to workers when they are required or on a rota
system, rather than giving each worker their own desk (also referred to as
hot-desking) shall be prohibited.
Remote working should continue to be encouraged where possible to reduce
face-to-face contact. The number of staff in the office at any one time should be kept to the minimum required. Teams grouped by varying skillset will allow for easy
isolation should virus symptoms be present.
The number of active cases in Malta has gone down to 57 after 17 persons recovered in the past 24 hours. Only one new case was identified during the same timeframe, from over 1,070 tests.
The total number of cases has now reached 620, with 554 recovering.
Masses to resume on 13th June, limited number of people allowed per mass
Masses will resume around the island as of 13th June. Archbishop Charles J Scicluna said that to ensure social distancing was respected, a limited numbers of persons will be allowed inside Church for every mass.
He said the wearing of masks and or visors will be mandatory.
The Archbishop said that the Church will keep in place a special exemption allowing those who for some reason or another cannot come to church to follow televised celebrations.
Scicluna appealed to the public to cooperate with the Church Authorities to make Mass celebrations a positive experience and not a place where people get sick.
Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said that Malta Enterprise had received more than 20,000 COVID wage supplement applications. Up to 27th May, 14,000 had received their payments, while a further 2,100 applications required confirmation by the applicant. These payments exceeded 52 million euro, covering 93,000 employees.
Malta will be making a significant step towards normality this Friday, 5th June, after the Prime Minister, Robert Abela, confirmed yesterday evening that most restrictions imposed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, will be lifted. This include the ban on gatherings of more than six people, while the remaining outlets such as bars and gyms, will be allowed to re-open. Summer schools and childcare centres will also be opening their doors, with restricted numbers applying.
More details from yesterday’s press briefing are available here.
The list of countries open for travel will be as follows:
Germany, Switzerand, Luxembourg, Austria, Cyprus, Iceland, Lithuania, Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Israel, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Estonia, Finland. Latvia as well as the two Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
While mass gatherings will still be prohibited, very few exceptions will remain, such as sports involving contact between athletes. Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci said testing will be strengthened as the remaining restrictive will be removed, while guidelines will provided to support the transition to the new normality, based on the princples of social distancing, hygiene and carrying of protective face wear.
Chamber of Commerce welcomes easing of restrictions
In a statement published after yesterday’s press briefing, the Chamber of Commerce said that “this is an important step in the right direction for the country to continue to achieve normality and the economy to function once again.”
The Malta Chamber however complained at the he lack of detail in the Prime Minister’s press conference. Businesses and investors need clarity which is only derived from guidance and operational principles in order to operate properly, it said.
During yesterday’s press conference, the speakers confirmed that a number of protocols remained in place, without however highlighting which will be removed. “It is important for the necessary information to be issued without delay, in order for businesses to be in a position to enact and put in place the necessary protocols and procedures for the expected changes on Friday” said the Chamber.
Malta has seen a total of 619 cases of coronavirus in total, with 73 remaining active. Nine have lost their lives.