Following amendments in 2017, the Trading Licences regime in Malta was re-focused to apply to a leaner list of commercial activities taking place in Malta. Street Hawking remained one of the few activities requiring a licence in terms of this regime such that one cannot act as a street hawker (i.e. sell by retail from any street by means of a vehicle or render a service other than an open air market) without such licence.
In order to facilitate demand for local agricultural produce within the currently applicable social distancing framework, persons who hitherto held a permit to operate within farmers' markets but not to operate as street hawkers are now deemed temporarily licensed as street hawkers subject to certain conditions being met in the interest of health and safety.
Indeed, by means of Legal Notice 117 of 2020, a person who is already in possession of a valid permit issued by the Market Administration Unit to operate a stall within a legally established farmers' market (an operation for which street hawkers are usually not eligible to obtain a permit) will be automatically deemed to be in possession of a temporary licence as a street hawker to sell local agricultural produce without the need to apply and secure a street hawkers licence for that purpose in terms of the Trading Licences Regulations. This deemed licensing is subject to the Environmental Health Directorate being satisfied that the person in question can operate this activity on the basis of clearances already issued in their respect and also subject to all conditions and penalties applicable to street hawking being met except for the obligation to apply for a street hawker's licence. Moreover, if the person holding the farmers' market stall permit does not have the abovementioned clearance from the Environmental Health Director, that person is required to register their activity with the Food Safety Commission.
The permit holder who is deemed to be temporarily licensed under these regulations is allowed to have a substitute and up to 2 assistance who must be notified to the Market Administration Unit. Each of these persons (including the permit holder themselves) is required to wear the identification badge supplied by the Unit, the permit holder or their substitute is required to be present at all times when the street hawking is conducted and the permit must be clearly visible at all times.
The temporary licence will be valid until such time as the Superintendent of Public Health determines that markets or farmers markets will not remain closed, or that the relevant street hawking activity (including street hawking for the selling of vegetables) shall cease or (c) that the abovementioned persons themselves fall within a category of persons who are not permitted to be outdoors.
In terms of social distancing, the regulations provide that all street hawkers, whether temporarily licensed under this regime or already holding a street hawking licence in terms of the Trading Licences Regulations to sell local agricultural produce must abide by the following rules when stopping their vehicle to sell to their clients:
- the vehicle cannot be parked within 100 metres' walking distance from the entrance of any commercial premises (including any fixed kiosks) which is not closed or less than 100 metres' walking distance apart from another street hawker;
- within a circumference of 300 meters from each street hawker there cannot be more than 2 other street hawkers at any one time irrespective of whether they are licensed under the Trading Licences Regulations or under the above described temporary licensing regime to sell local agricultural produce;
- they can only serve 1 customer at a time and the other customers must stay in a line with a distance of at least 2 metres apart from each other.
All in all, these measures should give some impetus to the sale of local agricultural produce by means of street hawking allowing traders of that produce to continue with their businesses safely while enabling all of us to get our five a day in a safe way.
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.