Malta imposes caps on retail prices for face masks and face shields

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.

Should you require further information, please contact Simon SchembriSylvann Aquilina Zahra, or Clement Mifsud-Bonnici.

The contents of this paper are intended for information purposes and do not constitute legal advice. The information provided is not intended to be used or relied upon in relation to any facts or circumstances without first obtaining legal advice.