Dogs are allowed in restaurants, the Health Ministry has confirmed, disputing concerns that they weren’t because of COVID-19 restrictive measures.
Yesterday, animal sanctuary MSPCA issued a press release stating that the Malta Tourism Authority had confirmed with them that restaurants with the COVID-19 conformity badge weren’t allowed to accept pets.
The sanctuary raised concerns after pet owners contacted them saying they had been told on multiple occasions by restaurant owners that they weren’t allowed to bring their pets inside following instructions by the MTA.
A restaurant told Lovin Malta that they were told by MTA inspectors during an inspection ahead of their reopening that they weren’t allowed pets due to COVID-19 restrictions.
However, Lovin Malta reached out to the Health Ministry who confirmed that this was in fact “not true.”
Lovin Malta also reached out to a number of pet-friendly restaurants who confirmed that they are still accepting pets and weren’t advised by the MTA not to.
According to the World Health Organisation guidelines, “there is no evidence that these animals can transmit the disease to humans and spread COVID-19.”
The MTA has since responded claiming that its protocols made no reference whatsoever to dogs being banned from restaurants.
“The Malta Tourism Authority wishes to clarify that, contrary to what was claimed in the article, MTA’s protocols that serve as guidelines for the reopening of Catering Establishments make no reference whatsoever to dogs being banned from entering the premises as one of the requirements for restaurants to obtain their COVID-19 Compliance sticker,” it said.
MSPCA has since issued a response to MTA’s statement.
MSPCA welcomes the decision by MTA to reverse the policy which banned dogs from entering into establishments as part of their COVID-19 compliance standards. After highlighting the issue in the media, MTA clearly took note of the feedback and reversed this animal-unfriendly decision.”
MSPCA was alerted to this situation by members and by frustrated restaurant owners and verified the matter with MTA and the Inspectorate section at MTA. The MTA has now confirmed to MSPCA that “the situation with regards to Pets not being allowed into catering establishments was a directive from the Health Authorities” and that “it now seems that as from today this directive has been lifted.”
We understand that this means that as of today restaurants and catering establishments are no longer being obliged by MTA not to allow dogs if they wish to be given the COVID-19 compliance certification. We are pleased that MSPCA’s action and the public support we received for our position had an immediate impact and the decision has been reversed. This means that catering establishments can now truly be enjoyed by all.