New Standards for Gatherings & Events

31/07/2020
New Standards for Gatherings & Events

 

 

 

The following standards and supporting documentation are being issued under the Public Health Act Chapter 465 of the Laws of Malta.

These Standards cover Gatherings and Events.  By definition, a gathering is a planned or spontaneous event which may take place indoors or outdoors. The number of participants can vary from a small number of persons to several hundreds or thousands in attendance. Gatherings come in many forms such as community events, concerts, festivals, conferences, exhibitions, parades, processions, weddings, parties or sporting events.

All those who plan to organise Gatherings and Events shall henceforth be bound to observe the Standards set out in the Document entitled “Standards Gatherings and Mass Events” which is available for download via the link.  Applicants are encouraged to download and familiarize themselves with this Standards Document in view of the responsibilities and obligations which it poses on them as organisers.

An integral component of this process involves self-assessment.  There are two self-assessment tools which are required to be completed by organisers of gatherings and events.

The first is the Risk Assessment Scoring Tool which is to be downloaded and completed for onward transmission to the following email address: riskdepository@visitmalta.com

The Risk Assessment Scoring Tool has its inbuilt scoring system and will assign a score on the basis of which the following Risk Classification will emerge:

It is on the basis of this Risk Classification that a decision on whether the event is permitted to be held or not is taken.  MTA reserves the right to object to any application.

Also available for download for Self-Completion is a checklist entitled “Gatherings and Events Checklist”.  Organisers are required to fill in this form and submit it together with the Risk Assessment Form to riskdepository@visitmalta.com

This checklist shall also be used by MTA and Health Authority Officials inspecting the event while it is taking place.


Downloads:


Information Meeting held on 03/08/2020:



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Standards for Gatherings and Events

Q1. Have any of the previous protocols changed since Friday 31st July 2020?
A1. The protocols established and annexed to the conditions of every licence are still in force. As from Friday 31st July, additional protocols related to the organisation of gatherings and events for more than 100 persons have been introduced.

Q2. Is there a need for a Risk Assessment for events for less than 100 persons?
A2. No.

Q3. Is a Risk Assessment required for every event for over 100 persons?
A3. It is only required if the event is different in nature. An event which does not affect any of the questions raised in the matrix supplied does not require an updated Risk Assessment, as long as the statement covers all the period in question.

Q4. If an event is being organised outdoors, such as in a Public Garden, what other permits are required by the organiser?
A4. The organiser requires the MTA approval and the Police Licence/Permit.

Q5. To whom does the Risk Assessment have to be submitted?
A5. The Risk Assessment must be submitted to the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) online via email: riskdepository@visitmalta.com. The same email address is to be used for further queries about the Risk Assessment. MTA will reply to such queries within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. MTA will peruse each individual application submitted (including all other documents requested), liaising with the Health Department should any more clarifications be required, before getting back to event organiser.

Q6. Who is responsible for submitting the Risk Assessment for a wedding?
A6. The Risk Assessment for a wedding can be submitted by the wedding couple, by the wedding organiser if one has been engaged or by the Hotel, Restaurant or Venue which has been contracted to take care of the wedding organisation. Ultimately, someone must be responsible for that event.

Q7. Is there a list of qualified/certified persons who can fill in the Risk Assessment Sheet?
A7. Any person who is acting as the promoter of the event, can fill in the Risk Assessment. However, if the event in question will have a crowd capacity of over 1000 patrons and the Risk Assessment will go into the merits of providing emergency services, exits etc, then it is recommended that a qualified and competent person is engaged in the compilation of the Risk Assessment for that event.

Q8. Will the Risk Assessment be automatically approved if the Matrix score is below 125 points?
A8. MTA may approve if Matrix score is under 125 points and inform the event organiser accordingly. If the Matrix score is much higher, application will be refused, and the event organiser will have to make amendments to the said application/event to reach the required score.

Q9. What if the information provided in the application is not correct? Is there some method how this information can be verified?
A9. As the assessor of event applications received, MTA will deliberate about the validity of the information provided. The Authority will write back to the event organiser for the Risk Assessment to be re-submitted if information provided is not as required or needs further clarification.

Q10. What action would be taken should details submitted in the Risk Assessment of the event not tally with what was found during an Inspection by the MTA's Enforcement?
A10. MTA's Enforcement officers will decide whether to issue a fine or stop the event.

Q11. If the event organiser has submitted the Risk Assessment and wishes to adjust details therein, will this be allowed?
A11. Yes. Risk Assessments can be amended. Please keep in mind that should the number of COVID-19 cases increase, the Health Authorities reserve the right to review current protocols and introduce new protocols as and when required.

Q12. Will an open bar be allowed at weddings? Even if it is a stand-up wedding?
A12. The protocols in force up till now state that open bars should NOT be utilised. A waiter service is to be used. The condition is that people are not allowed to go to the bar and request drinks but ask waiters for such a service.

Q13. Does every licensed establishment offer a waiter service?
A13. Licensed establishments can either provide a take-away service with customers walking up to the counter, taking the food and leaving or provide a waiter service with people sitting at the tables.

Q14. Are there any restrictions on the serving of finger food during weddings?
A14. Serving of finger food at weddings is acceptable. MTA has advised catering suppliers to reduce by half the food being served on the trays by waiters. This will ensure that the food items on the trays are spaced and people will not be touching each other's food.

Q15. If a band consists of more than 4 members up to 10 members, do the measures (protocols) still apply?
A15. A band consisting of 10 or more must follow the 1 person for every 4 square metres ratio, keeping the two metres social distance protocol between band members.

Q16. Who is responsible for keeping the distance between the band and guests attending who would be drinking and dancing?
A16. It is the promoter or the person in possession of the required licence who must provide security and safety measures to ensure physical distancing between the band and guests.

Q17. Who is responsible for a caterer who does not comply with the protocols? Is it the wedding venue owner or the wedding couple?
A17. The wedding organiser is responsible. This could be the wedding couple themselves, the venue owner if he agrees to organise the wedding and/or any other contracted third party responsible for the organisation of the event.

Q18. Some clients are not capable of submitting the Risk Assessment, nor do they want to do it themselves? What is the venue owner's responsibility at this point?
A18. In this scenario, the venue owner should ensure that the Certificate by the MTA is made available by the event organiser. The venue owner can only take responsibility if there is a contractual agreement with the wedding couple or any other third party responsible for the event.

Q19. Tables during events need to be more than 10 persons per table even if the event is for less than 100 persons?
A19. Catering establishments still must abide with current protocols in force and limit the number of persons per table to ten (10). Initially the number was six and it was increased up to ten. These protocols were never removed and are still in force. The protocols have always stated that the number of persons per table should be 10.

Q20. What is the difference between a restaurant which can cater for an event of more than 100 persons with all the protocols in place and a seated event such as a wedding with the same number of persons?
A20. In a seated event, people attending probably know each other and they will go around to the other tables. In a restaurant, people would normally just go to the table and sit there.

Q21. Is a photo booth permitted in a wedding venue?
A21. If there are no props being made available and people using the booth will be made to stand, so practically one will just go there to have his/her picture taken, then there should be no issues.

Q22. Is an insurance cover required? This is mentioned in the Risk Assessment. Isn't the insurance paid by the venue enough or does any other type of insurance need to be paid?
A22. A normal event insurance policy or if in a licensed premises the insurance of the premises suffices.

Q23. How many days should an event organiser inform the Authorities about the event being organised?
A23. Ideally 7 days before, but at least 48 hours before the event.

Q24. An event having international participation of over 100 persons indoors will not be given the necessary permit if the matrix is high?
A24. No. The matrix will give an indication where to mitigate. For example: an organiser would need to allow only foreigners instead of a mix of locals and foreigners. This would be given a lesser rating on the matrix. One might consider introducing a tracking device systems which would give a better rating on the Matrix. If the Risk Assessment is high, one should still submit it. The MTA together with the Health Authorities will come up with different methodologies to mitigate. However, in such cases, one should not expect to be given a reply within 48 hours.

Q25. In the case of Expo Events, does the condition of one person for every 4 square metres apply for stands and surrounding aisles?
A25. The promoter should always calculate the space available, deducting the space for toilets, car park etc. Once the total number of persons allowed is worked out, then the social distancing protocols apply. People must have the liberty to move around.

Q26. Is a Police Permit required for an event being organised for more than 100 persons?
A26. If the event is being organised in a licensed premises, the Police permit for that event is not required.

Q27. All events being organised outdoors must end by 2300hrs while indoor events can be organised by licensed operators up till 1 a.m.? Can assistance be provided by the MTA?
A27. While understanding the issue of events being organised outdoor, any licence issued does not give the organiser the right to disturb neighbours by playing loud music or otherwise even if licence is up to one o'clock in the morning. If a complaint is lodged by a third party, the MTA and Police must enforce. There is no choice. The case can eventually be taken up to court level.