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After Boycott Threats, Mosta Restaurateur Urges People Not To Punish Eateries For Following New Vaccine Law

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A Mosta restaurateur has urged people angered by Malta’s new vaccine entry rules to stop targeting her establishment with threatening messages simply because it is following the law and not closing down.

“Many seem to find it difficult to understand that we are simply following the law, and that our personal feelings on the subject do not matter,” Katja Levato, owner of Yiamas Greek Tavernaki, told Lovin Malta.

“We have a business to run and consumers are attacking us daily instead of directing their anger to the government, threatening to boycott our restaurant now and later, and whilst we can understand the frustration it makes us incredibly sad that while we are already struggling, we are also being blamed for something that is totally out of our control, and no fault of our own.”

Levato said the restaurant has also been forced to turn some non-adequately vaccinated clients away.

“While they were more polite than in the messages, they expressed disappointment and said we should send the government to hell,” she said.

Statements by Yiamas and other restaurants to clarify the new rules have been shared on a Facebook group which was set up to “highlight restaurants and public events in the Maltese islands who discriminate based on sex, religion, race, colour, health treatments and vaccinations”.

Group members are openly naming and shaming restaurants who are following the rules and urging others to boycott them, even once the vaccine rules are lifted. Meanwhile, the few restaurants which decided to close down in protest at the new rules are being praised.

One man said he is leaving the same bad review on the pages of restaurants which are following the laws, lambasting them as “sly, selfish individuals who do not [even] sell takeaways” unless you are vaccinated or boosted and urging others to do the same. 

A message left in a Facebook group set up to name and shame restaurants which are following the new rules

A message left in a Facebook group set up to name and shame restaurants which are following the new rules

This situation has placed restaurants in an extremely uncomfortable situation, essentially forced to either follow the rules and risk boycott threats and public shaming or else to close down and risk the very survival of their business.

“It’s like they expect us to fight the government on this by closing or by ignoring the law, and us to pay the fines of course,” Levato said.

“We are business owners who have fought hard and continue to fight hard to safeguard our livelihoods, our employees and their families.”

We did not ask to be put in this position, but yet here we are having to enforce a law which is not ours and we’ve become like an extended employee of the health authorities and government whereby we also have to scan vaccine certificates and check codes.”

“It is very unfair that we are being blamed, attacked and our local eateries harmed for following the law. Following the law does not reflect in favour or against our personal feelings on the matter. We want to welcome everyone in our restaurant but we are not allowed too unless a vaccine certificate is presented.”

“We just want to cook, serve and make people happy; we are only following the law enforced upon us by the local authority.”

In a statement today, the Association of Catering Establishments (ACE) criticised the current vaccine entry rules as “a huge blow to the catering industry”, accusing Health Minister Chris Fearne of “playing Russian roulette” with restaurant owners.

Cover photo: Yiamas Greek Tavernaki

What do you make of the current vaccine entry rules? 

READ NEXT: Woman Accuses Husband Of Rape But Maltese Police Find Out She Attacked Him With Kettle Of Hot Water

Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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