Tony Zahra

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) expressed relief for the re-opening today (Monday) of restaurants, describing the industry as a cornerstone of the tourism sector and a critical facility for hotel operations.

Restaurants were closed to in-house dining from early March in response to spiralling daily COVID transmission rates. As of Monday (today), they are permitted to serve customers inhouse until 5pm, with a maximum of four per table, except for single households with more than four residents.

MHRA Restaurants’ Council Representatives Isabella Debattista, Rosie Grech, Claudienne Harb and Richard Cleland remarked that “today is an important step towards kick starting the economy and protecting people’s livelihoods in this sector. Our businesses have suffered terribly and now deserve to succeed having been extremely responsible and patient during this difficult time.”

The re-opening of restaurants is also a major relief for hotels which so far have been constrained to serve meals in hotel rooms, the MHRA noted.

“We appreciate that during the lockdown restrictions, Government supported our operations with grants, in particular the wage subsidies, to ensure that we survive during this extremely difficult period and accordingly be ready to reopen when the right time comes.

“Therefore, today for us is an important step in the right direction as we prepare to welcome back our customers, but support needs to continue. We are not out of the woods yet, and some of the announced protocols and measures make it very challenging for businesses to operate and to be financially sustainable.”

In this context, MHRA welcomed the announcement made by Prime Minister Robert Abela on Sunday that the next round of economic stimulus vouchers, which will give €100 to every resident in Malta to spend at retail and catering establishments, are set to be released on 7th June.

MHRA President Tony Zahra said:

“This is very good news for our restaurants and other businesses within the hospitality and leisure sector that have either been closed or operating under limited service, for the past months. Now it is time to prudently get back on our feet and whilst offer back the opportunity to all to meet, dine and enjoy life together in a safe environment, we continue to restabilize our business operations in a sustainable manner.”

Featured Image:

MHRA President, Tony Zahra

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