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Health Authorities unlikely to issue permits for Regatta and Voomquest Powerboats Championship next week

The Freedom Day Regatta and the first leg of the 2021 Voomquest Powerboat Championship are facing the prospect of being postponed once more due to fresh COVID-19 restrictions issued by the Health Authorities on Friday.

The Freedom Day Regatta and the 2021 Voomquest Championship were set to be part of the Yachting Malta Race Week which was scheduled to be held between May 28 and June 7.

Organised non-contact sport competitions for athletes over 17 years of age and contact sport training are set to resume as of Monday in line with the relaxation of measures issued by the Health Authorities earlier this month.

Arrangements were in place from the organising bodies to host both events without the presence of spectators at the Valletta Grand Harbour but their hopes of being granted a permit by they Health Authorities were all but ended following the publication of Mandatory Standards for Sport Activities.

Speaking during Friday’s news conference, Professor Charmaine Gauci had hinted that the Freedom Day Regatta at the Valletta Grand Harbour was unlikely to be given permission to be held.

“Since such an event would be held in an open public space, it would naturally attract the presence of public and at the moment we cannot give permission to such mass events,” Gauci said.

Sources have told the Times of Malta that organisers of both the Voomquest Championship as well as the Freedom Day Regatta had already made arrangements so that both events would be held in front of empty shores.

In fact, they had made arrangements with the police and Armed Forces to ensure that no external boats would be present on the water and they had also ensured that the shores surrounding the Grand Harbour would be closed for public.

However, following the publication of the new standards there was a further restriction that made the events impossible to host.

In fact, the new standards state that every event cannot have more than 100 persons involved, a requirement that both the Voomquest Powerboat Championship and the Freedom Day Regatta can fulfil.

Meanwhile, the programme was also scheduled to have the start of the Malta-Linosa Sailing Regatta, organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, but it remains to be seen whether the authorities will give a permit for the event to get underway from the Grand Harbour, since events not held in an enclosed area are not being permitted.

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