The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) asserts that curfews are draconian, unnecessary, and counterproductive if enforcement is adequately applied to all the industry.
Curfews will kill off the business of all restaurants or other places that operate in the evening. The relevant authorities should and must ensure that those who do not abide by the rules are sanctioned, including closure of establishment if necessary. The introduction of any form of curfew will not only serve to create further hardship on the hospitality sector in particular hotels and restaurants, but more significantly will not lead to achieve the desired objectives that of better managing the spread of COVID-19 amongst the population.
MHRA believes that curfews will push for irregular activities to go underground, so the Associations calls upon Government to ensure that those responsible for enforcement are adequately resourced to be more effective in enforcing the rules that are already in place, not only with restaurants but also in private gatherings.
MHRA remarks that those who booked self-catering units such as farmhouses or apartments for weekend breaks will not be affected by a curfew as they will still carry-on partying indoors in defiance to social distancing protocols. The solution therefore lies with effective enforcement of protocols in public places and in self-catering units. Towards this end, MHRA calls upon the authorities to ensure that self-catering units are not to cater for more than 4 persons and fines should be imposed on lessors and lessees too who flout the rules. Anyone who flouts the COVID-19 protocols and catering license rules must be held accountable. The Authorities need to send a clear message that they mean business.
MHRA has been in constant contact with the health authorities and is informed that matters in hospitals are under control.