The MHRA refers to the announcement made yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Chris Fearne about restaurants which voluntarily accept only fully vaccinated people in possession of a recognised vaccine certificate.
MHRA has repeatedly recognised the efforts spearheaded by Government in gearing Malta to have one of the world’s highest vaccination rates. MHRA welcomes the news that our Health Authorities have started to offer a booster vaccination to ensure that protection received from first and second doses is maintained ahead of the winter and against new variants. MHRA also notes that the Health Authorities have introduced strict border control measures to ensure that people travelling to Malta are also fully vaccinated. This success could not be achieved without the support amongst others of hotels, restaurants and tourism operators who had to restrain their operations for over a year and a half, leading to enormous financial difficulties. Indeed, MHRA is on record to have stated that it is thanks to the Government wage subsidies and other help that today the tourism and hospitality sector has survived without serious casualties.
The COVID 19 protocols for catering establishments have remained the same for over a year and half. MHRA asserts that the way restrictions are now being slightly eased leave much to be desired and do not reflect the safety related realities which Malta is now synonymous with, and all stakeholders are commending. Piecemeal and contradictory decisions are however now leading to blurred conditions and major difficulties in managing enforcement by relevant authorities creating an unfair business playing field not only amongst tourism and hospitality operators but also amongst businesses in other economic sectors.
It’s now time to rethink the protocols. It’s time that decisions from policy makers reflect the realities which we are all living, and accordingly bold steps are taken to give hotels and restaurants the necessary space to operate their business as proper businesses. MHRA is calling upon Government to recognise the success which we all have worked for and accordingly drastically reduce or completely remove the COVID 19 protocols especially for the hospitality sector, keeping in mind that we are living in an environment where practically everyone is vaccinated.
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