A bar owner has pilloried Prime Minster Robert Abela’s decision to keep bars closed for the festive season, warning that restaurants were finding loopholes to act like bars.
The owner of a popular Valletta hangout argued there wasn’t any proof of bars spreading the virus, because cases have continued to rise despite the lockdown.
“Can someone please explain why or how snack bars are to remain closed when there is no proof that bars are causing COVID-19 to spread? Cases are still rising while the snack bars are closed.”
“Meanwhile, all restaurants have been converted to bars and are staying open past 12am, but snack bars are closed. Look at Sliema, every restaurant is open past 1am, but its the bars that are spreading sickness. House parties are going on with over 20 people, but snack bars are the issue!” the owner said, outraged.
Prime Minister Robert Abela announced today that the legal notice which forced bars to close for a month will be extended for the coming weeks to curb virus transmissions.
The original legal notice was introduced at the beginning of November, together with other measures like mandatory masks in outdoor spaces, an 11pm curfew on restaurants and a ban of alcohol at snack bars.
With just five days notice, it left bar owners scrambling to get rid of their stock and wondering whether all the steps they took to comply with COVID-19 rules were for nothing.
“I’m not surprised they decided to keep us shut – I think it was obvious because opening for peak season would be another disaster. But I also think restaurants should operate as they used to and not replace bars.”
“We never used to go to restaurants to just order some food to drink alcohol and party… So why are people doing this now? This is a huge loophole and it’s about health, not money,” the owner added.
Active cases of COVID-19 in Malta have stabilised but remain high with daily triple digits. Today, 116 new COVID-19 cases were found, bringing the total number of active cases at 2,069, while the death toll stands at 112.
However, the number of new cases could drop by almost a half by the end of December if current measures are kept in place, a report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has found. This could also lead to a significant drop in hospitalisations, new cases, and crucially fatalities.
Do you agree with the decision to keep bars closed?