More government vouchers and COVID-19-related aid are required for restaurants to stay afloat following an “unprecedented” drop in sales in recent weeks, a Maltese hospitality industry group has warned.
“Restaurants have experienced a significant drop in sales which is unprecedented as it is worse than those reported in end of February beginning of March,” the Association of Catering Establishments said.
“Through a survey [we] conducted, it transpires that after the fading out of the government vouchers effect there was a drop in sales of some 40%. The decline started on 22nd September but over the last week, with the increasing numbers of persons infected by COVID-19, reported decreases amounted to 70 to 80%, varying in different areas.”
“A minor (5%) increase in delivery services was also reported. Evidently, the Maltese population is once again very conscious of the spread and are protecting their families but more importantly there seems to be high level of uncertainty regarding their income.”
With the Budget set to be announced on Monday, the ACE urged the government to immediately issue a fresh round of vouchers to encourage consumption and to extend the wage supplement scheme to all Maltese people employed at restaurants after March 2020.
It also urged the authorities to allow restaurants to place tables closer to each other if they’re separated by plexiglass barriers.
“The concept is already in place in other establishments so it can also work in the case of restaurants,” it said.
“It must be noted that to date there is no scientific link between restaurants and the spreading of the virus. Restaurants by nature are very health conscious and most restaurants have entered into considerable additional expenses in order to create a safe environment.”
“Those who invested should be rewarded through stimulation of economy by immediate vouchers and through adequate assistance in wage supplements as aforestated. Furthermore, incentives should come in place for the implementation of the perplex proposal and other anti COVID-19 measures.”