The majority of Malta’s restaurants have reported that they had a worse Christmas week than they did in 2020.

Matthew Pace, Secretary of the Association of Catering Establishments (ACE) told The Malta Independent that a survey showed 70 per cent of restaurants reported a lower sales week than 2020, while 89 per cent stated that sales in the same week were lower than in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Malta.

According to Mr Pace, the poor performance in the sector was in large part due to the many cancellations of Christmas dinners that restaurants faced as new case numbers exploded.

Indeed, four per cent of businesses in the catering industry decided not to open on Christmas Day at all due to mass cancellations.

“Despite this, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day proved to be far more positive compared to the Christmas week – and this is mainly due to the fact that despite the rise in positive cases – the vaccine has proved very effective with much lower hospital and ITU cases reported due to our large vaccination ratio,” Pace said.

He added that the reportedly low hospital and ITU cases have rekindled a sense of comfort within the public.

“Contrary to what was anticipated, restaurants this year almost matched 2020 sales for the same festive dates,” added Mr Pace.

Mr Pace said that statistics for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were still being gathered, but he suspected the figures would be more positive.

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