Malta’s Cabinet of Ministers will meet this evening at 8pm to discuss new financial measures to combat the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
The outbreak has had significant effects on Malta with the government’s decision to impose mandatory quarantine for all new arrivals and the closure of flights non-essential shops, non-essential services, schools, bars, restaurants and any mass public events is also leaving an impact
The government has introduced measures to combat any adverse economic impact. A €1.8 billion package to help businesses was announced, but this was largely focused on tax deferrals and bank guarantees.
Meanwhile, businesses who have been forced to shut down temporarily will only benefit from a two days per week government payment based on a salary cap of €800 per month, or three days per week if they employ people.
Essentially this means that self-employed businesses will benefit from €320 a month or €480 a month if they employ people, plus an additional €320 per employee.
The measures have not been well received, with business leaders and unions expressing concerns that the measures will do nothing to solve impending mass unemployment. Employers, they say, would be better off seeing their staff take a full unemployment benefit than remain with the company.
Others have also raised concerns that the government is yet to address issues when it comes to businesses and residents making rent when they have zero income.
Economy Minister Silvio Schembri has called on the government to double direct assistance to the businesses. However, it remains to be seen what the government will announce these measures. Sources have said they could be out this evening, but it will likely be tomorrow.