The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) takes note of what was communicated through the media that Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that the COVID-19 wage supplement and the €100 vouchers which were due to expire this month have been extended till the end of October 2020.
MHRA President Tony Zahra states that, “the dynamic situation which our members are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now calls for a clear direction by Government in addressing the coming months till the opening of the next summer season.” Business forecasts are currently being drawn up by MHRA members for the coming winter period in order to take important business decisions which will have an impact on the employment of many and the economy in general. Therefore, any piecemeal support initiatives by Government at this stage risk causing more damage than benefit to our sector. MHRA reiterates that any form of Government support needs to be substantial and based on a medium term basis given that at a global level, business across the travel, hospitality and tourism sector will undoubtedly drop substantially over the coming 7 months due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Towards this end MHRA calls on Government to take the following key actions:
1. extend the wage subsidies for Hotels and Restaurants up to March 2021;
2. keep up the momentum of business generated in the restaurant sector through the vouchers scheme and other subsidies on rent and energy bills by increasing the wage subsidy to restaurants employees to €800;
3. ensure that new recruits who replace employees who left their respective organizations will be made eligible for the 800 euro wage subsidy.
These are challenging times and MHRA pledges to keep working together with the authorities to ensure that the tourism, hospitality, and travel sector remains an important element in the Maltese economy. These are times of seeking synergies and not divisions in the best interest of citizens, employees, and employers.