With the Government expected to announce a review of the current COVID restrictions, which were set to last till 11th April, restaurants say they doubt they’ll be permitted to open but should restrictions for in-house dining be lifted, then need to know soon.
Speaking to BusinessNow.mt, multiple respected restauranteurs were pessimistic about the chances their restaurants would be permitted to open as part of a prospective lifting of restrictions on Sunday.
They warned that if they will be permitted to open, they need to know imminently, so the necessary stock can be acquired and preparations may commence.
Michelin starred chef Jonathan Brincat, who is the founder and co-owner of Noni in Valletta, acknowledged that “no-one knows anything yet, and we cannot prepare for anything we don’t know”, but said it seemed “highly unlikely” that the restaurant would be able to open.
If his restaurant was to open, he explains, it would already be two days late in its preparation.
As such, “most probably, if we were going to open, which is highly unlikely, we would not be able to do so before Tuesday next week”, he said.
Basically, he would need to have known yesterday, in order to open on time, he said.
Similarly, Chris Fenech Soler of Trabuxu says he “very much doubts” his restaurant will be allowed to reopen for customers to dine in next week. If it was to be allowed, however, the restaurant needs to know imminently.
“We would need to get fresh food in, fresh produce in, to start preparing to open,” he explained, saying the process would take four to five days.
In the case of Rubino, Head Chef Edward Diacono says he has a hunch that restaurants will not be able to open. The impression he gets, “is that [restaurants] won’t be reopening on the 12th”.
As such, the restaurant is not yet ordering stock, and will do so if it “gets the go ahead”.
Ta’ Kris owner, Christopher Cassar differed from the other restaurants BusinessNow.mt spoke to. He is hopeful that his restaurant will be able to reopen to customers eating in, and says that because it is already offering takeaways, where stock is concerned, the restaurant is almost ready to open.
Having taken the closure as an opportunity to conduct some maintenance, his concern is that he might not be finished in time to open, if allowed to do so.
Current measures, which threw Malta into a semi-lockdown in early March, forced non-essential shops and services, including catering establishments, to close their doors to customers.
At the time, the Government announced that these measures would last at least until 11th April.
The Government is expected to announce the results of its review of the measures in the coming days. Prime Minister Robert Abela has, however, warned that priority will be given to education in the “cautious” reopening of the country.
According to a report by the Malta Independent, the Government is expected to make the announcement on Wednesday.
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