As Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that restrictions will be eased for vaccine-only restaurants from October 9th, an overwhelming majority of catering establishments said that they are not willing to restrict entrance vaccinated guests only.
The Association of Catering Establishments (ACE) found that 86.3% of the caterers that participated in their survey are not willing to restrict entrance to COVID-19 vaccine certificate holders.
Over 90% of those who are not willing to waive such a restriction believe that the incentives proposed by Fearne do not justify such a measure.
The respondents said that their workforce isn’t in a position to adapt to the proposed vaccine measures, as only 65.3% confirmed that their staff is fully vaccinated.
Moreover, 87.7% of respondents also feel that the measures are an overkill on the industry given that Malta has declared herd immunity in July 2021.
The catering industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as measures forced them to close up their businesses and many suffered financial hardship and even bankruptcy.
Currently back to business, the catering industry feels that the Health Ministry is being too hard on them, especially given the fact that they are not back on their feet again.
The ACE insists that the measures announced by Fearne would have been ideal in a pre-herd immunity scenario, but that with Malta’s current herd immunity they are no longer fair and just.
“They should have offered restaurant owners the possibility to operate without table capacity and distance restrictions,” the ACE said. It also proposed the possibility of a hybrid option similar to the current smoking zone areas available in restaurants.
Members of the ACE also fear that the proposed measures will further impinge on the current human resource struggle the industry is facing.
“Whilst the ACE understands the purpose of such measures – to ensure further vaccination in the industry – it feels that their impact will be wholly borne by restaurant owners thus affecting their long term sustainability.”
The ACE feels that in line with the government’s intent to return back to normality and to mobilise the economy, the measures announced should have been more sensitive to the current staffing and human resources the restaurant industry is facing.
Do you think restaurants and catering should be available to vaccinated people only?