i due sardi st paul's bay

A St Paul’s Bay pizzeria has taken the bold step of choosing to close its doors, on a temporary basis, in protest of Malta’s new COVID-19 rules surrounding entrance into hospitality, fitness, leisure, entertainment and catering establishments.

As of last Monday, only those with a valid vaccine certificate are allowed entrance into various establishments, excluding retail.

Taking issue with the new rules, which also require client-facing staff to have a valid vaccine certificate, I due Sardi displayed a sign outside of its establishment and also took to social media to say:

“To our beloved customers and friends, who honour us with their presence in our restaurant. All the staff of the pizzeria I due Sardi have never discriminated against any customer, regarding their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political orientation or for the choice of treatments for their health.

“Keeping faith with our ideals of respect and free choice of individuals, and respectful of the laws in force, we decide to remain closed to the public, until the authorities repent, regarding the latest provisions on COVID-19.

“Hoping to see you soon in our restaurant, I wish you all health and prosperity.”

Sign displayed outside restaurant / Facebook photo by Defend Malta

The management’s message chimes with criticism put forward by hospitality lobby groups in Malta, such as the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association and the Association of Catering Establishments, who claim it is unfair for the sector to be singled out with the new rules.

They also highlight the difficulties in staffing hospitality and catering has been facing, and that the new requirement for some staff to be vaccinated is another major obstacle it has been faced with.

The Malta Chamber, on the other hand, took a more positive view by focusing on the lifting of restrictions inside restaurants to full capacity in accordance with an establishment’s licences, thanks to the new vaccine entry requirements.

In addition, 17 businesses this week filed a court case against the new rules, first applying for a prohibitory injunction against the rules citing various arguments, such as the right to work. A judge will be hearing the case on 28th January.

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