MASKS will now not have to be worn outside Gibraltar’s town centre after very few new active cases were reported this week.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo delivered the news in what he said could be his last live press conference on COVID-19.

It has delighted local residents who from Monday will be able to return to school, start doing sports, go to children’s parks and buy lottery tickets.

Buses will restart at half capacity on February 22 too, including those for schoolchildren.

Masks will have to be worn on-board by everyone over 11-years-old and there will also be strict hygiene rules.

The curfew will continue until March 14 and be applicable to all businesses including the catering industry.

A new Public Health study will now be carried out to find out the effects of the vaccine to find out if any of them have been infected.

An 85 to 90-years-old woman died this week from the long-term effects of COVID-19 even after testing negative to the virus.

The government residential home victim passed away on the night of February 17 from severe frailty caused by dementia.

It brought the total number of pandemic casualties to 88, while also showing the virus can still kill even after the body resists the infection.

Of the 39 active cases today, 11 are in hospital, five of them in Critical Care, all being ventilated.

However, with less people in hospital since December, the local health system has moved from black to amber alert.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo
SUCCESS: Fabian Picardo announces the loosening of pandemic restrictions

Normality returns

The government will finally move away from Major Incident status on March 1.

On that date, bars, restaurants and cafes will re-open, although they will only be able to do so with the same restrictions as before.

BEAT payments, rates reductions and rental discounts will continue until the end of February.

Catering businesses will receive full automatic payment of their costs with other shops getting partial support as they struggle through the pandemic.

Sports will only be allowed in groups of 12 for now, although applications can be made for more numbers to the government’s sporting association.

The Contact Tracing Bureau will return to a test, trace and isolate system.

“We have crossed the Rubicon,” said Picardo

“We have seen the spike of infections tamed.

“We have seen the number of daily deaths abate.

“But we must remain cautious though.

“We cannot throw caution to the wind.

“We are very close to being able to protect everyone in our community through vaccination.

“Do not bring COVID-19 on yourself, your family or friends by going out to look for it in Spain.”

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