Lockdown seems a lifetime ago already. Back then, local councils were directed to have online meetings instead of physical ones, and fair play to that. Once the numbers began to dwindle later, they were then instructed to meet in person once again. However, following a cavalier 4 months of a borderline free-for-all summer, cases have been on an alarming rise. With that, you’d expect that online meetings would be back on the agenda, right?
In a befuddling twist of events, when local councils requested that online meetings start taking place once again, they were met with a simple “no”. Well, not exactly simple, because apparently the law states that council meetings can only be held at the premises. We spoke with the Swieqi Local Council to get a better feel of the current situation.
Too slow to react
“The real issue is that the Central Government was too slow to react to the real needs of Local Councils”, a councillor told us. It’s unsafe to meet in a closed room with other people in rooms where social distancing cannot be observed.
“What’s the difference between being online and meeting in person? It’s a pandemic and we’re at a second, higher peak than in March”
Worse still, a week after the promised legislation change, there still no word. Local Councils still cannot meet online, and it’s not safe to meet in person either
What we want to know
What we want to know is: if the meetings had taken place and social distancing in the offices was not possible, would it have been a crime? And had they resorted to virtual meetings without asking permission, but thus maintained social distancing regulations, would they have been penalised?
It’s a strange Maltese stand-off, but we’d like to hear your thoughts too!