Malta’s new mandatory mask-wearing rules make exceptions for “high-intensity physical activity,” but Charmaine Gauci informed keepers that this only applies to jogging and cycling.
A woman posted an email from the public health superintendent that a director showed her yesterday after fining her and a group of people for not wearing a mask during training near the chalet, Sliema.
In the email, Gauci responded to a number of questions posed by the guards, who have been tasked with enforcing mask-wearing regulations with police.
Asked what kind of physical activities people can do in public without a mask, and whether people can use outdoor gym equipment without a mask, Gauci said that only jogging and cycling are allowed without a mask.
She also confirmed that people are allowed to remove their masks when sitting down to eat or light a cigarette.
However, the woman who was fined warned that confusion reigns over these new mask rules and pledged to challenge her fine.
“We were a group of eight, keeping a distance of two meters from each other during training, and were fined for not wearing a mask,” she told Lovin Malta. “We told the director that the law allows the removal of masks for high intensity physical activity, but he referred to this email from Charmaine Gauci saying that only jogging and cycling are allowed.”
“Does this mean that boxing, tennis and squash are not considered high intensity activities? Seems like it’s up to the keepers to decide if the speed at which you run is also high intensity, as people are fined for brisk walking.
She said she called the police to clarify this point, but they were not sure and referred her to the national COVID-19 helpline.
“The people at 111 told us that even yoga and stretching can be done without a mask and now we are totally confused. Not everyone is on the same page. ”
She also warned that authorities are “chasing” people, fining a runner for not putting on his mask when stopping to cross the road and even fining children for playing in the playground. recreation without mask.
“The WHO clearly states that children should not wear masks when playing in the playground as this can compromise their breathing. This situation is ridiculous.
Malta started enforcing a law on compulsory mask wearing last Friday, with culprits facing a fine of € 100, which will be reduced to € 50 if paid before the start of proceedings before the Commissioner for Justice .
However, there have already been several complaints that the authorities were overzealous in their application, for example by fining a man who went to Għar Lapsi for a Sunday swim late in the morning. night and was fined by police for leaving his mask in his car. .
Lovin Malta has contacted Minister of Health Chris Fearne to clarify exactly what type of physical activity can be done without a mask and whether people now need to wear a mask when exercising at the gym.