An official Government announcement on when bars can reopen is set to be given by the end of this week, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo told the Times of Malta. Bars were supposed to remain shut until end-February, with the legal notice regulating bar closures due to expire this Monday.
Pressed for an indication as to whether bars will be allowed to reopen as of next week, Minister Bartolo skirted questions and stressed that the Government will continue to assist bars as needed.
President of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association confirmed with BusinessNow.mt that the organisation does not believe bars will be allowed to re-open from Monday, adding that the state has preferred to err on the side of caution.
Bars have been shut since end October as part of the effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. Legal notices extending their closure have repeatedly been issued, and this time around, bar owners have been left in the lurch as to whether they should plan to restock and reopen.
Back in January, when Government announced it would again extend the bar closures for February, it had also announced a €2.2 million aid package for owners, met with a mix of criticism and praise.
While the one time payment of €2,870 allotted to commercial bar owners has been viewed as a lifeline to smaller establishments, larger ones, such as Gianpula village, provided context by sharing that thanks to the most recent closures, the business had to throw away around €15,000 worth of stock.
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