As non-essential shops and services prepare to reopen on 26th April, the Chamber of SMEs has insisted that this should be the last lockdown they face, even if there’s a third wave.
“The SME Chamber has insisted that non-essential outlets are not to close again should another wave occur,” the business lobby group said in an email to members.
“Instead, all measures should be taken to mitigate the issue earlier and not let things escalate to require another partial lockdown.”
It said potential solutions could include limiting the opening hours and days of shops and limiting their amount of clients even further, perhaps only by appointment.
“Whilst these would still be difficult circumstances to operate under, it is better than a complete closure, should this be necessary of course.”
The SME Chamber also called for an extension of the rent subsidy scheme and urged the government to immediately issue vouchers for the retail sector as soon as shops reopen.
“It is no longer possible for the retail sector to wait for all the economic operators to open to be able to benefit from the vouchers all at one go,” it said.
The voucher scheme will see every Maltese resident given €100 in credit, €40 of which can be spent on retail outlets and €60 which can be spent at any establishment licenced by the Malta Tourism Authority.
They were originally supposed to be issued at the start of the year but the plan was put on hold in the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases.