The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) in reaction to new restrictions targeting the hospitality sector announced today by Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, states that “the festive season was the one chance we had to recoup some of the losses suffered earlier in the year but we’re now in a situation of great uncertainty”. Indeed, the loss of income over this period is about more than just the festive season, it is about surviving the winter months.
MHRA asserts that the hospitality sector over the past two years ended up as the main target and victim of the pandemic related control measures, and now once again is being caught amid a pattern of waiting to see how virulent the Omicron variant is. MHRA President Tony Zahra states that, “The industry is trying to keep its head above water now we are kind of in limbo at the minute.” Mr Zahra adds MHRA members understand the importance to adhere to public health advice but are concerned of the impact on the industry of measures that are announced at the last minute. We are allowed to be open, but the authorities are telling people to cut back on going out. Significantly, it is important that we avoid a situation of ongoing, rolling closures of hospitality for as long as the pandemic persists. This is soul destroying for businesses and for our teams and the many communities across the country that rely so heavily on tourism at a time when they are already struggling, with events cancelled and occupancy levels at near all-time lows.”
MHRA therefore is not only calling upon Government to intervene with an emergency hospitality support package which reflects the current extraordinary situation but also asserts that as a sector and as a country we need better engagement on what the plan for living with this virus will be going forward.
MHRA asserts that as many hospitality businesses have been working to reconfigure and establish their operations into very safe environments in line with existing protocols, any additional restrictive measures need to be taken into consideration of their impact on the going concern of the business. Once safety protocols are in place what needs to be done is rigorous enforcement by the relevant authorities and accordingly allow these businesses to continue to trade. MHRA recognizes that there are no easy solutions but stands as always, ready able and willing to engage with Government on a plan for the economic survival of many thousands engaged in the hospitality industry.