Our lawyers are actively following all the measures which are being put in place from time to time by the Maltese authorities in light of the COVID-19 outbreak in Malta. These measures are taking effect by means of various Legal Notices, each of which is explained hereunder.
L.N. 76 of 2020 ordering the closure of places open to the public came into force on the 18th of March 2020 by virtue of this Legal Notice. Moreover, this Legal Notice also brings within the scope of the ordering of places to the public massage parlours. In this respect, the order for the closure of places open to the public now applies to the following venues, indefinitely:
Notwithstanding this order, restaurants, cafeterias, snack bars and kiosks may continue to provide delivery and take-away services to the community. Moreover, restaurants situated in hotels may continue to provide room service to hotel guests and delivery service in the community.
This Legal Notice repeals L.N. 73 of 2020 which ordered the suspension of stalls in open air markets with the exception of stalls that sell food products, which stalls could be placed at a distance of twenty (20) metres from one another.
By reason of this repeal and by virtue of L.N. 76 and 82 of 2020, stalls which sell food products which were previously allowed to be placed in open air markets now fall within the scope of the order for the closure of places open to the public.
This Legal Notice is intended to enforce L.N. 76 and L.N. 82 of 2020 ordering the closure of places open to the public.
By virtue of this Legal Notice, any person who fails to abide by the order for closure of places open to the public shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to the payment of a penalty of three thousand Euro (€3,000) for each and every occasion that such order for closure of places open to the public is breached.
This Legal Notice causes any breach of the provisions of L.N. 83 of 2020 entitled “Enforcement of the Order relating to Closure of Places Open to the Public Regulations, 2020” to be regarded as a scheduled offence for the purposes of the Commissioners of Justice Act (Cap. 291).
The Commissioners of Justice Act establishes a system for the de-penalisation and trial of petty cases before Commissioners of Justice by the Executive Police, local council or other authority, as the case may be.
This Legal Notice is intended to amend the wording of L.N. 61 of 2020 entitled “Epidemics and Infectious Disease (Suspension of Legal and Judicial times) Order, 2020”.
The order now states that where any Court of Justice is closed by order of the Superintendent of Public Health for the purpose of guarding against and, or controlling dangerous epidemics or infectious disease, such order shall suspend the running of any legal and judicial times and of any other time limits including peremptory periods applicable to proceedings or other procedures before the said courts.
This suspension shall also apply to prescription in criminal and civil matters.
The suspension shall last until seven (7) days following the repeal of any such order by the Superintendent. This means that if the last day of any legal or judicial time or other time limit expires during the time when a Court of Justice is closed by order of the Superintendent, the running of the times shall be suspended until seven (7) days after the day when the Superintendent repeals such order.
Nevertheless, Courts of Justice still have the power to order the opening of their registry, the hearing of any case and anything consequential and incidental thereto in urgent cases or in cases where they deem that it would be in the public interest to hear such cases. In such instances, such Court shall determine specific arrangements for the guarding against and, or controlling dangerous epidemics or infectious diseases.
This order shall be deemed to have come into force on the 16th of March 2020 together with L.N. 65 of 2020 ordering the closure of the Courts of Justice.
This Legal Notice was introduced to amend the provisions governing the termination of package travel contracts and the right of withdrawal before the start of such packages as provided for under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations (S.L. 409.19) (the “Regulations”).
Under the Regulations, travellers have the right to terminate the package travel contract before the start of the package without paying any termination fee in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances occurring at the place of destination or its immediate vicinity. In the event of termination of such package travel contract, the traveller shall be entitled to a full refund of any payments made for the package. Generally, such refunds or reimbursements shall be made by the organiser to the traveller without undue delay and in any event not later than fourteen (14) days after the package travel contract is terminated.
This Legal Notice however introduces a proviso stipulating that the said 14-day limit shall not apply to any refund required as a result of termination of package travel contracts, when such termination occurred or occurs between the 1st of March 2020 and 31st May 2020 (both dates included). Instead, such refunds shall be paid by the organiser to the traveller by no later than six (6) months after the package travel contract is terminated.
The term ‘package’ means “a combination of at least two different types of travel services for the purpose of the same trip or holiday” whereas the term ‘package travel contract’ means “a contract on the package as a whole or, if the package is provided under separate contracts, all contracts covering travel services included in the package”.
Article 47 of the Malta Travel and Tourism Services Act (Cap. 409) confers the necessary power to the Minister responsible for Tourism and Consumer Protection to make regulations or provide for any matter relating to tourism operations such as to regulate standards, levels of service and amenities in tourism operations, to regulate the provisions of travel package services and to establish codes of ethics and conduct for tourism operations.
In an effort to contain the further spreading of the novel coronavirus through human transmission, the Government of Malta announced the suspension of all inbound commercial flights as of Friday the 20th of March 2020 at 23:59. Notwithstanding this, the Malta International Airport will remain operational to facilitate the arrival and departure of cargo, humanitarian, and ferry flights until further notice.
In a statement, the Malta International Airport appealed to passengers who were planning on travelling in the coming days to contact their respective airlines for more information about their flights.
Airline contact details may be found at this link here: https://www.maltairport.com/passenger/flights-landing/airlines.
Likewise, the Maltese national airline Air Malta issued a statement announcing the suspension of all commercial travel to Malta for flights departing after 23:59 on Friday the 20th of March, until further notice. The airline reiterated that “the ban does not apply to ferry, cargo and humanitarian and repatriation or special flights. Air Malta shall operate such flights as directed by the Government of Malta”.
It said that customers affected by this ban have the following options: