restaurant tables

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) has called for the acceleration of Malta’s COVID vaccine rollout scheme, as the new measures announced on Wednesday by the Government have “piled even more economic pressure on the hospitality industry”.

The MHRA emphasised the urgency of the situation, commenting that most businesses in the hospitality sector have seen trade reduced to, at best “a trickle since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.”

However, in its statement on Thursday, the association does acknowledge that the COVID virus thrives on social gatherings and social contact that constitute the businesses of hospitality.

Furthermore, it said it “understands this fact and was pinning, and still is pinning, its hopes on the quickest possible rollout of the vaccine”, so people can return to “some form of normality”, and allow the hospitality industry to be discharged from the “intensive care” zone into the “rehabilitation zone”. 

The MHRA reiterated the importance of a recovery by summer, saying it needs to see “so-called herd immunity” reached before “end June 2021”, to allow businesses to open for the summer season.

It said it is concerned that that the Malta Health Ministry’s roadmap for vaccinations projects the reaching of herd immunity by the end of August and calls for the Government to “do whatever is necessary to ensure that the June target is reached”.

However, the MHRA also conveyed the Government it’s continued support in ensuring protocols are adhered to, and said it will continue its dialogue “to ensure that Malta will exit these immensely difficult times in the shortest time possible.”

“In this respect”, it said, “meetings are held regularly between MHRA and the highest authorities, to ensure close and continued cooperation between the stakeholders of the hospitality industry and the Government”. 

On Wednesday, for the second time in the space of a week, and in light of an alarming increase in daily new cases, the Government announced a raft of new restrictive measures, including the closure of hotel restaurants, non-essential services (such as hairdressers), and restrictions on non-residents travelling to Gozo, amongst others.

A comprehensive list of the restrictions as they stand can be found here.

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