December 02, 2020
As we all get ready for a Christmas unlike any that has gone before, we at wamo find ourselves in Malta where we launched the wamo app in November. If you’re considering heading this way for the holidays we don’t blame you - there’s a lot to tempt a Christmas fan. The celebration holds a special place in Maltese hearts – so there’s plenty to see and do and plenty of that good old Christmas spirit; the temperatures averages between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius and Malta is amongst the European countries considered most safe to visit at the moment. What’s not to like?
So if you’ve already bought your Malta flight or have plans to do so, we’ve compiled a list of some things to bear in mind to help you make the most of your time, stay safe and help others to stay safe too. Here are:
1. Before you travel, check if you’re on the green, amber or red list.
Depending on which category your country of departure falls into, you’ll need to approach your trip with certain precautions.
Briefly, green list countries are considered safe and if you’re travelling from one of them you won’t have to get a swab test done on arrival. Your thermal temperature will be taken and you’ll need to present a declaration form saying, among other things, that you haven’t travelled outside the safe list countries in the last 30 days.
Green list countries are (currently, please check here for updates):
If you are travelling from one of the amber list countries you’ll be required to provide a ‘negative PCR COVID-19’ test. You must make sure that you get the test done no more than 72 hours before your expected arrival. That is, get it done as close to your departure date as possible – factor in delays, it may be 2020 but it is Christmas after all.
If you arrive without this test and you’re on the list you’re likely to be subjected to a test on arrival and will be told to self-quarantine. Amber countries are:
All countries not included in either of the lists above automatically fall into the red list category. If you’re on this list you’ll have to be able to show that you’ve spent the last 14 days in one of the ‘safe corridor’ (green list) countries before arrival and you’d also be wise to take a PCR test no more than 72 hours before arrival to present on landing.
2. Ready to go? Masks, masks, masks.
Pack plenty of masks. Not only is it important to have masks for your flight, it’s also obligatory to wear a mask at all times in Malta (both indoors and outdoors) except for the obvious common sense reasons (like eating in a restaurant) and for those who are exempt. Check with your airline what their specific requirements are as they differ from one airline to another. If you’re travelling with Air Malta, for example, wearing a mask is compulsory and only contactless payments are accepted for onboard purchases. By wearing a mask and observing the social distancing rules and hygiene measures we are all by now so familiar with you will be helping to ensure that not just you and your family but the lovely place you are visiting is safer for everyone.
3. No bars!
While Malta isn’t in lockdown and isn’t being as restrictive as many other European destinations, there are reasons to be cautious. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has projected that for Malta there will be just under 200 new COVID-19 cases a day – so, it’s Christmas but there’s still a pandemic on. While many of the Christmas events - like Valletta’s fabulous Waterfront Christmas - will still be taking place (at the time of writing this), gathering in large groups with no room for social distancing is out and bars and clubs have been ordered to remain closed until January. Stay in small groups and keep your distance. The lovely Christmas lights and decorations are best seen from a distance anyway.
4. Look out for this sticker
Back in May the Maltese government moved quickly to put measures in place to ensure service industry establishments were as safe as possible when everyone came out of lockdown. For those businesses this meant investing a lot of time and money in becoming COVID-19 compliant. It’s worth checking that the hotel or restaurant you're visiting has taken these measures. After all, Malta’s recovery rate was said to be amongst the best in Europe and Malta was also lauded as an example of one of the most successful European countries in dealing with the pandemic – so it’s worth following recommendations (like this sticker) to add that sense of safety to your dining or stay experience.
5. Be friendly but contactless
Don't use cash. Contactless is much preferred and more convenient for everybody. For a country where 59% of households were still paying their utility bills in cash back in June – the switch over to contactless in Malta was relatively speedy once the pandemic hit. Contactless is available everywhere – it just became available on most Maltese buses - and the contactless spend limit was increased to €50 in November. This is a country that can move quickly when it needs to! Check with your current bank to see what fees you might incur using contactless abroad.
If in doubt, check with your airline or on the Malta Ministry of Health website which has some useful resources and is regularly updated on the situation for locals and travellers alike.
Happy holidays and stay safe!
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wamo and the wamo logo are trade names of wamo Technology Limited and may not be used or reproduced without the consent of the owner.
wamo.io LTD incorporated and registered in the United Kingdom under the company registration number 12352849 and the operational office of which is at WeWork, 199 Bishopgate, London EC2M 3TY. wamo operates the wamo.io website and the app. wamo is not a bank, the current account is an e-money account. Issuance of Electronic Money and payment services is provided by PayrNet Limited. PayrNet holds an amount equivalent to the money in the wamo current accounts in a safeguarding account which gives the customers protection against insolvency. We are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (register reference 922901) for the issuing of electronic money. wamo is an EMD agent of PayrNet.