After being allowed to reopen for the first time in months, the owner of a small Buġibba snack bar has spoken out about the success of her first day back in business.
“My snack bar has only been open for a year and a half and I honestly didn’t expect anyone to visit at all,” Smudge Thomson, who owns Smudge’s The Falcon Bar, told Lovin Malta.
“However, my regulars, Maltese and expats alike, all visited and I was filled to my limited capacity for nine hours on Friday. Saturday was quieter and today was quiet, although my regulars still came for afternoon and early evening drinks.”
“Most of my regulars are 40 or older and they’ve been locked away for 70 days. Many of them said how lonely they felt, how much they missed the banter here, how much they missed me and how much they missed seeing a fridge full of beer.”
As all other restaurant and snack bar owners, Smudge has had to introduce new protocols, such as setting tables at least two metres away from each other, ensuring no more than six people sit at each table, placing hand sanitiser outside the entrance, and ensuring clients wear masks while visiting the bathroom.
She herself has had to wear a visor throughout her shift but was quick to customise it.
“It was challenging when people came in a group of more than six people and I had to seat them at different tables while ensuring they aren’t too far away from each other,” she said. “However, everyone was well-behaved, obeyed the guidelines and brought their own masks with them.”
However, despite the early positive signs, Smudge is well aware that the lack of tourists could deal her business a massive blow and she has decided to only open her snack bar on the weekend so far.
“I will feel a massive hit by the lack of tourists so I’m still worried that it mightn’t be sustainable for me to keep my bar open,” she said. “I’m relying on my regulars now but they’ve been amazing.”