Malta’s Association of Catering Establishments (ACE) has come out with a strongly worded statement urging all those who are “reluctant to get jabbed” to “assume their responsibilities” while bearing in mind that their hesitation is detrimental to “the business community in general and their fellow citizens”.
On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne urged all those who have yet to be vaccinated to do so, as concerns about the highly contagious Delta COVID variant and a recent uptick in COVID daily transmissions have led to Malta banning unvaccinated travellers to the country as from Wednesday.
On its part, ACE is insisting on the need for its members to support the current “positive business vibe” by encouraging their employees on the need to be vaccinated.
Currently, no provision at law exists regulating whether employers may urge staff to become vaccinated however Prime Minister Robert Abela on Sunday urged all employers to “convince their employees to take the vaccine”, without qualifying what this would mean in practice.
ACE pointed out how in summer 2020, Malta’s eateries were reignited thanks to Government vouchers, while the whole world pinned its hopes on the discovery of an effective COVID vaccine.
It said that this summer, Malta boasts the highest vaccination rate in the world, but that it is imperative for all those who have not yet received the jab to do so.
Government has now launched a series of mobile vaccination units, allowing persons to receive the jab without the need for an appointment. Interested parties must bring a valid identification document only.
“Restauranteurs are urged to kindly encourage their management and staff to heed the health ministry’s advice in getting vaccinated. An initiative between Government and business community should be launched to officially recognize business owners whose staff compliment are vaccinated in their majority, as a covid compliant establishment,” ACE said.
Turning to concerns about Malta’s focus on the UK tourist market, in view of the Delta variant ripping through the country, ACE said it was important to bear in mind the sustainability of the local hospitality industry which has heavily depended on UK tourists.
“This source market generated 650,000 tourists in 2019 which was practically one-fourth of the whole touristic presence. Therefore, ACE stresses that while health necessities are necessary, the sustainability of the hospitality sector which employs a labour force of more than 25,000 employees is equally as important as the needs of managing COVID-19 as best we can.”
ACE concluded by urging all to be cautious and respect the health ministry’s guidelines, as “whilst the second restaurant shut down was a catastrophic blow, a third closure should not ever be considered”.
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