Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 July, 2020 at 1:57 pm by Andre Camilleri
Many businesses, organisations and front liners have sacrificed a lot over the past months. But just as sacrifice and commitment started to bear some positive results and improvements, we are now facing a potential new wave of Covid-19 cases.
Whereas schools, offices, restaurants, and many others businesses are being allowed to open with huge additional costs due to the required precautionary protocols, large gatherings like the party & artistic performances organized recently, which led to a spike in COVID-19 cases, have had no protocols related to mask wearing or social distancing imposed upon them.
Therefore FELTOM, is calling on all the authorities concerned to immediately ban all forms of mass gatherings such as massive parties, concerts, and public gatherings. FELTOM considers the encouragement of such gatherings as outright irresponsible and short-sighted.
A fresh spike in cases can potentially harm what up till now was Malta’s ‘ace up one’s sleeve’ – that of being one of the safest destinations for travellers – given that cases are very low thanks to the way Malta’s health authorities have handled COVID-19. In fact, some schools have already begun to receive calls as to whether agents should continue to push Malta as a safe destination.
FELTOM and many other businesses and organisations, believe that this moment is not about being calm and positive, but about being realistic and humble enough to admit that it is still very early to declare victory.
Finally, FELTOM calls on Graham Sansone (UPE) to stop taking personal advantage out of this situation through pathetic sensationalism. Contrary to what UPE try to suggest, FELTOM’s interest remains that of protecting the EFL industry and its member schools that are constantly abiding by all guidelines and protocols.
In fact, our member schools were advised to follow our guidelines with regards to the use of masks and social distancing before the publication of the official protocols by the health authorities. Our position remains that schools should keep following such guidelines even though these are not enforced by the Ministry.
UPE’s sensationalism and selfish attitude risk the very industry that employs teachers and administrative staff.
FELTOM is taking the current situation with extreme seriousness and caution. Schools are being asked to follow strict guidelines and protocols. A decision has also been taken to cancel the annual teenager parties usually hosted for minors by FELTOM – even though precautionary measures could be put in place. This decision was taken because together with our member schools, we did not wish to sacrifice the reputation of the country and its salability as a safe and serious destination in the way it is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We need to see the bigger picture and work with an aim in mind. We believe that the short-term sacrifices we still need to make as a nation will be greatly out-weighed by the long-term benefits, only if the authorities choose to be vigilant, prudent and strict in the face of this pandemic which is still amongst us.
Unless these mass events are stopped, we will soon have to face a new lock-down which will be devastating, not only for tourism but for all the country and its economy.
Who will then shoulder the responsibility?