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A Long Way To Go Until ‘Business As Usual’: Malta Chamber Remains Cautiously Optimistic About Reopening Of Borders

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Although Malta achieved herd immunity, there is still a long way to go until the country returns to ‘business as usual’, the Malta Chamber of Commerce has warned.

“Many businesses, which played a pivotal role in achieving herd immunity, are still in survival mode and they can only thrive if there is certainty, visibility and consumer confidence,” the business lobby said in a press release. 

Non-essential businesses and services were allowed to reopen on 26th April following over a month of lockdowns and restrictions. On 10th May, bars and restaurants were told they could open, but only until 5pm. And as of yesterday, bars and restaurants can now open until midnight, with gyms and pools also allowed to reopen.

Nonetheless, attempts to kickstart the economy are being hindered by the government’s inaction to submit its plans for the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRP), the Malta Chamber of Commerce said.

“The RPP is crucial for businesses to start planning on how to thrive instead of how to survive,” it said. “No sector should be forgotten or left behind. Every job is important. Every sector is important”. 

Yesterday, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that Malta had achieved herd immunity, becoming the first country in the world to do so. However, the real test of the success of the country’s vaccination campaign is yet to come, with the business lobby urging for ‘cautious optimism’ as the island reopens its borders to tourists next month.

“As Malta reopens, authorities must strengthen their existing enforcement measures and implement stricter border controls. Otherwise, the efforts of everyone including the businesses who stepped up and played a critical role in encouraging and supporting their employees to get vaccinated would be futile,” it ended.

In an attempt to keep local businesses afloat, a second round of Covid-19 vouchers will be distributed as of 7th June. Each voucher will be worth €100 each with €40 eligible to be spent on retail outlets and €60 for restaurants and other establishments.

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