Airport, hoteliers welcome lifting of more COVID-19 restrictions

Malta Hotels and Restaurants Associations says remaining restrictions should be removed, and emphasis must be made on the role of ‘self-responsibility’

File photo
File photo

The Malta International Airport and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Associations have welcomed government’s announcement on the lifting of more COVID-19 restrictions.

“Malta International Airport (MIA) welcomes the government’s announcement that persons travelling from a red country will be allowed entry into Malta with a negative PCR test or a recovery certificate as of next week, as the first step towards the complete lifting of the country’s COVID-19 restrictions on travel,” it said.

On Monday morning, in a phone interview with TVAM, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that those travelling to Malta from a country on the red list will now be allowed into the country with a negative PCR test or recovery certificate.

Fearne also said that from 13 April, children will no longer need to wear a mask in school and that a second booster will be offered to the vulnerable.

The MIA said PCR tests are an inconvenience, as well as an added cost which can run into hundreds of euro for a travelling family, which can prompt potential visitors to choose another destination for their summer holiday.

“This particularly given that a number of European countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom, to name but a few, have recently completely removed all restrictions on travel,” it said.

The MIA said now that peak holiday season is only months away, it called on government to give visibility, to both the industry and potential visitors, of when the remaining COVID-19 travel restrictions, including the red and dark red colour system, will be completely removed.

In a separate statement, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Associations (MHRA) welcomed the lifting of restrictions, calling for the removal of remaining restrictions.

“MHRA however states that not enough and clear information was presented to better understand how the tourism stakeholders need to react in relation to this policy statement,” it said. “Accordingly, MHRA has already called for and is again calling for the removal of all remaining COVID restrictions, including all testing requirements, the need to present proof of vaccination, or to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF). The removal of all COVID restrictions is already in place by a growing number of countries across Europe and beyond.”

The lobby also said measures introduced at the height of the pandemic, must also be removed.

“MHRA is also calling for the removal of extraordinary protocols which were introduced across hotels and restaurants during the peak times of COVID 19 transmission months ago. These restrictions, such those related to buffet and bar service, are directly impacting negatively operations, leading to gross inefficiencies and difficulties and compounded with the issue of lack of available staff to work in our sector,” it said.

The MHRA said emphasis must be made on the role of “self-responsibility in keeping our society healthy.”

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