A Maltese catering lobby has accused health authorities of turning a blind eye to restaurants and using them as a “sacrificial lamb” as recent COVID-19 measures force them to shut once again.
“The Health Ministry has not published independent and signed studies showing that restaurants are the cause of COVID-19 diffusions,” the Association of Catering Establishments said, demanding a copy of the research on which it based the latest restrictions.
It urged the government to “publish the figures of passing away of persons due to financial distress issues and also the increase of mental health issues faced by entrepreneurs.”
Small businesses were purposely targeted, ACE continued, while authorities let illegal events fly under its radar.
“Most illegal activities were published on social media including pre-event advertising. The health authorities have bullied small entities with no or minor infringements and ignored the true issues.”
The lobby warned that rent, water, electricity and other expenses still need to be shouldered in order to save jobs in cash-depleted businesses amid the pandemic.
Fresh restrictions were announced yesterday after Malta broke its single-day record of new COVID-19 infections. Superintendent of Health Charmaine Gauci explained today that the arrival of a new virus variant and an inability to social distance was the basis of the decision.
Restaurants and snack bars, forced to remain closed until April 11th, will receive €1,000 to help cushion the effects of the closure.
What do you make of the decision to close restaurants?