Travelling to Malta This Year? Coronavirus Update
LAST UPDATED: 10 DECEMBER
The self-isolation period for people returning from countries not on the travel corridor has been cut from 14 days to 10 days. This can be cut further as part of the test to release scheme. Under the scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. The earliest you can take the test is 5 full days after you left a destination not on the travel corridor list. If the result is negative, you can stop self-isolating.
Now that some affordable airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair are resuming some flights in June and July, you can finally uncover those bags you had packed for your trip to Malta before the coronavirus changed the world in March, right? Right! Malta is officially ready to welcome you with open arms.
It’s important that we spend time away from our daily routines - getting a little rest and relaxation on holiday is great for mental health and overall happiness. The FCDO is once again advising against any travel other than necessary to Malta, and Malta is allowing Brits back in again - so it’s not quite time to start planning your holiday.
According to the Malta Tourism Authority, the reopening of Malta has begun - certain countries (including the UK) are now allowed to visit the country - and comes with a detailed set of guidelines to promote the health and safety of the Maltese and tourists alike.
However, it’s important to note that the UK government once again recommends that you don’t travel to Malta unless absolutely necessary - and even then, once you return back to the UK after your trip, you will have to self-isolate for 10 days. This could even be cut to 5 days if you take a test and return a negative result as part of the government's test to release scheme. It looks like it’s best to hold off on booking your holiday for the time being… but we’ve got our fingers crossed that Malta will return to the list of government-approved travel corridors soon!
It looks like a holiday to Malta may have to wait just a bit longer!
Holidays to Malta 2020: Is It Safe to Travel to Malta?
It’s possible that you haven’t heard much from Malta amidst the chaos of the coronavirus. But that means that the island nation hasn’t had much to report - a good sign! Although being an island does help to contain the spread of disease, Malta has actually been an exemplary country when it comes to pandemic response - so much so that it’s being used as a case study by the World Health Organisation for effective disease control.
So what did Malta do that was so effective? Let’s go into it for a bit.
Malta's Response to the Coronavirus
Just days after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Malta on 7 March, the tourism authority announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for tourists visiting from anywhere. This wasn’t an easy call to make, as the island would be sorely impacted economically without a steady stream of tourists to jaunt around Malta and Gozo.
Well, things didn’t get easier from there. Restaurants, clubs, gyms, and entertainment spaces were closed by 16 March, and by 20 March, all travel into the country was suspended (except for humanitarian flights, ferries and other necessary movement in and out of the country).
Julia Farrugia Portelli, Malta’s Minister for Tourism, was part of the team that made the difficult decision to close ports of travel to Malta. Hard as it was, it proved to be the best course of action for the country. The closures to travel and mandatory quarantine of citizens meant that Malta avoided the brunt of the coronavirus.
Despite the closures of public places, the Maltese Government has been busy devoting energy to improving popular tourism hubs throughout the country. We’ve all taken up a new project or two during quarantine over the past couple of months, and the Malta Tourism Authority has been right there with us. “We don’t want to go back to normal,” Farrugia Portelli said in response to the improvements that Malta is making, “We want to excel, and provide a better service to upcoming tourists.”
It sounds like when things do open up to tourists again, Malta will boast better and brighter accommodation, historic sites and attractions than before the shut-down. Imagine what it was like to wake up on your birthday as a kid and have lots of new things to play with - that’s what travelling to Malta will be like. How exciting!
THE REOPENING OF MALTA
Prime Minister Robert Abela recently made the announcement that starting 22 May, restaurants and salons will be allowed to reopen. That’s not all. No-contact sports like tennis and diving can resume practice, despite not allowing spectators yet. Clinics can begin to see patients again for things other than COVID-19, too.
So you can start your day with a fresh new hair-do, get your nails done - maybe add some rhinestones - order yourself a bowl of aljotta for lunch, and get your teeth cleaned that afternoon. What a day!
Yes, this is all fine and dandy, but when did hotels open, you ask?
The announcement from Prime Minister Abela also revealed hotels were allowed to reopen on 22 May, and airports have been open since 1 July - meaning a selection of countries from around the world are allowed into the country now. The UK has been on this list since 11 July.
Once you enter the country, expect to wear a face mask, have a thermal screening at the airport and to declare what countries you’ve visited in the last 30 days - but no swab test! It’s the little things in life, isn’t it?
All of this reopening excitement does come with restrictions, let’s not forget. Accomodation and other establishments must follow sector-specific mandatory conditions and checklists. Boy, that was a mouthful. But it’s true! And it’s meant to fulfill the safety and health needs of tourists and those working in the tourism industry, alike. We all want that, right?
What Would a Trip to Malta Look Like Right Now?
Well, since the waters off Popeye Village are sparkling - let’s dive in, shall we?
Don’t be surprised if there’s a plastic barrier between you and your hotel receptionist - you’ve probably already seen this at your local shops anyway. You also might notice plenty of hand sanitising stations throughout your hotel, and masks and social distancing will be observed wherever you might come into contact with the public. Although these extras aren’t typical when it comes to enjoying a holiday, we’re all used to them by now.
The pools, beaches, shops, museums, tourist attractions, bars and more will all be available to you, but at reduced capacity. Outdoor dining will be the norm, too, and tables will be stationed two metres apart. Public transportation is operating normally - with increased cleanliness, of course - and you only have to wear a face mask when social distancing isn’t possible.
In short, Malta has four rules for you - and employees, business owners and the like - to follow (our favourite is rule four):
- Maintain social distancing
- Increase levels of hygiene
- Wear masks when required
- Have fun!
Regardless of these guidelines, there will be a warm, salty breeze from Grand Harbour to greet you upon welcomed arrival.
While you’re awaiting the green-light to book your trip to Malta, how about perusing our blog for more titillating travel-related content?