Published on May 13, 2020
On 4 May 2020, Malta has taken the step of imposing a maximum price for masks and face shields. By way of Order No. 1 published on Malta's Government Gazette, the Director of Trade has ordered that "until further notice" retail prices of masks and face shields cannot exceed €0.95 per mask and €5.00 per face shield.
The Order has been issued pursuant to the 1972 Control on the Sale of Commodities Regulations (the Regulations) promulgated under the 1947 Supplies and Services Act.
Any trader who sells face masks or face shields in contravention of this Order, and therefore, the Regulations, will be guilty of a criminal offence with a maximum fine of approximately €600 for the first conviction. Upon subsequent convictions, this fine may increase up to a maximum of approximately €2,400 and with the possibility of imprisonment and suspension / withdrawal of trading licences.
It has also been reported in the press that the Government has agreed to compensate retailers for selling face masks at the maximum price where retailers have purchased the same at a higher wholesale price. A formal scheme was rolled out by Malta Investment Management Company Limited under the auspices of the Ministry of the Economy, Investment and Business bearing the name of COVID-19 Mask Subsidy Scheme. The guidelines of the scheme clarify that:
- Eligible parties include pharmacies which sell masks at retail level.
- The masks must have been purchased by the applicant between 9 March 2020 and 4 May 2020.
- There is a cap on the eligible refund of €0.70 per mask.
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.