Hospitality lobby group wants restaurants to re-open next week

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association wants restaurants to re-open next week in line with non-essential outlets and all tourism sector employees vaccinated before 1 June

MHRA president Tony Zahra
MHRA president Tony Zahra

A hospitality lobby group is clamouring for restaurants to re-open next week along with non-essential outlets.

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association has called on government to re-open restaurants, including those in hotels, on Monday.

Non-essential shops and services are expected to re-open on 26 April in line with government’s plan to relax COVID-19 restrictions in a gradual manner.

No date has yet been set for the re-opening of restaurants and bars, with Health Minister Chris Fearne insisting this afternoon that measures will continue being relaxed gradually.

In a statement on Wednesday, the MHRA also called for all tourism sector employees to be vaccinated before 1 June, when the government plans to re-open the industry.

“Restaurants have been amongst the worst economic victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and after a very long tough year we are all looking ahead for the reopening of the restaurants on the 26 April and the tourism market on 1 June 2021,” the MHRA said.

The lobby group acknowledged that the re-opening of restaurants is critical to ensure that there are no spikes of COVID-19 infections but insisted that restaurant owners have reached a point where they cannot wait any longer as their situation has become dire.  

MHRA President Tony Zahra said: “Operating a restaurant involves a lot of overheads, and these are not just employee wages. Many restaurant owners are reaching a breaking point waiting as to what is going to happen with their and their employee’s livelihoods. We now need a clear plan so that we all know where we stand and therefore can prepare our operations for what is an already very difficult situation.”