Let’s travel again… safely!

Malta’s airport is set to partially reopen on 1st July and fully on 15th July, but the travelling experience will change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In line with the recommendations of local and international authorities,  the Malta International Airport shall be introducing the necessary measures, invested in new technologies, and re-trained their front-liners to allow you to feel safe and secure every step of the way from check-in to boarding.

Below are a list of efforts taken to safeguard passengers to and from Malta:

1. Masks or visors are obligatory

Masks or visors must be worn at all times inside the terminal, with exceptions made for children under six years old and people with a valid medical condition. The airport recommends that you change your mask every four hours and that you pack enough masks in your hand luggage for your entire trip, including the time spent on the plane and the airport of destination. Refuse containers for the disposal of face masks and gloves will be provided.

2. Rigorous cleaning procedures

Airport staff will clean and disinfect the terminal more frequently and intensively, especially surfaces that are regularly touched such as buttons and handles, while alcohol-based hand sanitisers will also be available at strategic spots. The airport also recommends that you being your own 100ml hand sanitising gel bottle with you, which can also be carried through security.

3. No non-travellers allowed inside

Only travellers will be allowed inside the airport, which means that any goodbyes must be said outside. Exemptions will be made in special circumstances, such as for people who need to drop off or pick up a minor or a person with reduced mobility.

4. New social distancing signage

Signage and floor markings will be installed at check-in, security, departure, arrival and baggage reclaim areas and at outlets and restrooms to ensure passengers keep two metres away from each other. The airport is advising passengers to arrive at least two hours before their flight and has warned that security checks and boarding processes may take longer than usual.

Seating has also been reorganised for the purposes of social distancing, with unavailable seating clearly marked.

5. No smoking allowed

Smokers must take their last cigarette before their flight outside the terminal because smoking has been banned on the terraces. This is in line with health guidelines that forbid smoking outdoors at restaurants and bars on the grounds that people are being encouraged to sit outside where possible and that they therefore shouldn’t be exposed to cigarette smoke.

7. A new airport ‘care team’

A number of airport staff have been assembled and trained to act as a ‘care team’. Wearing easily identifiable light blue vests, their job will be to roam the airport, advise passengers on the new rules and ensure said rules are being observed.

8. Thermal screening cameras and tech to detect large groups

The airport has invested heavily in new technology, with thermal screening cameras intended to detect any passengers having a high temperature, over and above the temperature checks that will be carried out before they enter the airport. Meanwhile, agglomeration detection technology will alert the airport in real-time if passengers gather in large groups. Malta recently removed all limitations on public gatherings and the airport hasn’t yet explained how this new technology will be used.

9. New rules for the La Valette lounge

Members of the VIP La Valette lounge must book their stay here at least 24 hours before their trip so as to allow the airport to ascertain that social distancing requirements can be met. Guests can take off their masks or visors while at the lounge, while buffets have been replaced by waiter service. Newspapers, magazines and iPads will be unavailable to limit passengers’ contact with surfaces.

The airport will partially reopen on 1st July, with flights operating to and from Italy (except Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, and Piemonte), France (except Ile de France), Spain (except Madrid, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, and Castilla y Leon in Spain), Poland (except Katowice), Iceland, Slovakia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechia, Ireland, and Finland.

Travellers arriving directly from the countries and regions on this list will not be required to observe a 14-day quarantine but will be asked to declare that they had lived in the country of origin for at least four weeks prior to travelling. Guests will also be asked to fill in a passenger locator form, which would enable the health authorities to trace them swiftly should the need arise.

On 15th July, Malta’s airport is set to open to all destinations without restrictions.

How will the new measures affect hotel guests?

As of tomorrow, people can start staying in Malta’s hotels under the new Covid-19 relaxed measures.

Malta is starting to rebuild its tourism industry step by step starting with the reopening of certain establishments. While the airport remains closed and tourism numbers will take long to recover, locals can begin to enjoy the island’s hotels and the amenities it has to offer.

The most interesting and crucial points from the 73-page document can be found hereunder:

1. How will this affect the reception or lobby area?
Receptionists will have to wear either a facemask or a visor and will stand behind a perspex barrier. The lobby will also be equipped with alcohol dispensers and disinfectant wipes which will also be provided for your luggage as you enter.

2. How can the room be paid for?
The document indicates that contactless payment methods will be made available to avoid any unnecessary contact.

3. Can the spa or indoor pool be used?
No indoor spas or pools are to be operated.

4. What about outdoor pools?
You can make use of a hotel’s outdoor pool but you can’t crowd in common areas and you’re only allowed one person per sunbed. Changing rooms will also be disinfected every hour and limited to a maximum of four people at a time.

5. Will room service be available?
Yes, room service will still be provided but with disposable condiments and single-use items. Also, instead of signing, a room service bill will be brought straight to your room.

6. What about hotel restaurants?
The same protocols apply to hotel restaurants as they do other restaurants including the prohibition of buffets.

7. Will elevator use be restricted?
A distance of two meters has to be kept between you and others in an elevator. If that cannot be enforced then only one person can use an elevator at a time.

8. How will check out function?
Guests are required to drop off their room keys at a ‘Central Key Card Deposit Box’ made available in every hotel lobby. Keys will be collected and disinfected for reuse.

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