By virtue of Legal Notice 402 of 2020, Maltese law now requires individuals to wear face coverings at all times, whether indoors or outdoors except when inside private homes and private vehicles. Such legal requirement also extends to all places of work.

The law also delineates that face coverings must always be worn in the appropriate manner, that is covering the nose, mouth and chin.

The only individuals exempt from this requirement are children below the age of three (3) and persons with severe cognitive, physical, mental or respiratory impairments who have difficulties tolerating a mask as certified by a licensed medical practitioner. Individuals who have been so certified are obliged to carry the relevant certification at all times.

Furthermore, the temporary removal of such face covering shall only be permitted in the following situations:

(a) in the case of children attending kindergarten, while in the classroom;

(b) during high intensity physical activity;

(c) when speaking or providing assistance to any individual who relies on lip reading to communicate;

(d) during official public speaking provided that a physical distance of at least two (2) meters between individuals is maintained. (This does not include the delivery of lessons or lectures in schools, universities or other educational establishments);

(e) if requested to do so for identification purposes, including at banks, at the airport or seaport or by law enforcement officials;

(f) to receive any medical or cosmetic treatment or service involving the face or mouth;

(g) to take medication; or

(h) when seated at establishments where food and drink is served.

Whosoever fails to adhere to such legal requirement shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to a penalty of €100 for every instance when such requirement is breached. Should the breach of law be admitted, the penalty is to be reduced to €50.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.