Tony Zahra, president of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, has urged the authorities to properly enforce the law which allows hotel restaurants to remain open, but only for in-house guests.
Contacted by Lovin Malta, Zahra said the regulation makes sense because hotel guests need somewhere to eat, arguing that the same rule was applied in other countries which closed restaurants but kept hotels open.
“When I was a guest at a hotel overseas, I met a friend at the hotel but they didn’t allow him to enter the restaurant with me,” he recounted.
Asked about adverts by some hotel restaurants promising special offers for guests to stay at the hotel and eat out, Zahra said it’s up to the Malta Tourism Authority to investigate, and to enforce the law in cases of abuse.
“The government has issued regulations and it’s now up to them to enforce the rules if it thinks establishments are breaking them,” he said. “Our policy for our members is to obey the regulations.”
“If we’re unable to enforce regulations, then why bother having regulations in the first place?”
This week, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that restaurants will close, except for takeaways and deliveries, until at least 11th April as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Today, Abela said he spoke emotionally at a press conference announcing the measures because he felt for restaurant owners, who will suffer from the latest closure.
“Politicians aren’t robots, and I was emotional when I announced a new set of measures this week because I felt for restaurant owners, I understand that they invested money in their businesses and my heart goes out to them,” he said.