As thousands descended on Valletta on Monday after Prime Minister Robert Abela was sworn into the role, COVID began to feel like a distant memory.

For one cafeteria owner, however, the scenes left him with a bitter taste in his mouth, when considering the amount of times he says he has been visited for inspections by the health department or MTA officials, and the amount of business lost due to COVID rules preventing him from serving people at his establishment’s bar.

“Our café’s bar was a big source of revenue for us. Many customers who did not have time to sit down and be served by a waiter used the bar when they wanted to drink a quick coffee. This has not been possible since the onset of COVID restrictions.

“Why should I continue to follow these rules and lose out on business when the entire country is acting like COVID never happened?”

He qualified that while he believes the world, Malta included, should learn to live with the virus, he pointed out how politicians are ready to disrupt people’s ability to earn an income in the interest of health, but are happy to risk a massive spread of infections, which will result in disruptions to business activity, in the interest of politics.

“If we see a massive spike in cases after today’s gathering in Valletta, and the celebrations on Sunday, what’s going to happen within manufacturing companies, service-based companies and the hospitality industry when a bunch of workers must isolate at home?”

Anticipating the celebrations on Monday, as is the case each Monday after a general election, many businesses chose to shutter for the day. Some, like eateries and bars, remained open to capitalise on the activity, while others, like clothing shops, saw little sense in opening.

Malta had already been experiencing a spike in cases over the past weeks, with the number of active cases topping 4,000 on Monday.

Currently, standing events and gatherings remain illegal, and can only commence outdoors on 10th April. Despite this, massive crowds gathered on Monday in Valletta to celebrate the Labour Party victory and Robert Abela‘s swearing in as Prime Minister.

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