“Government should support companies that are ready to equip themselves for the new normal” said Deputy President Marisa Xuereb, as she represented The Malta Chamber on TVM’s programme Insights this week. “Rather than dish out blanket support to entire sectors, Government’s resources would be put to better use if they were focused at company level.”
Asked about her thoughts for a post-Covid scenario, Ms Xuereb noted that the Chamber did not wish to revert to the equilibrium of pre-Covid times as it was not perceived to be optimal. Even though the economy was doing well, the environment was paying the price, and the quality of life wasn’t as good as could be. “We must be the catalysts that take the country to a new equilibrium” she said.
“It is in everyone’s better interest that we all follow the regulations issued by the Health Authorities. This has always been our position as a Chamber, and we have always appealed to each and every member to follow these regulations responsibly. Otherwise, everyone will suffer the consequences if we see another rise in Covid cases,” she added.
Referring to the difficulties which certain industries might be facing when re-opening, Ms Xuereb said that “Every fresh start will be difficult for the first few weeks. Whether we open our businesses now or in 2 weeks time, people will still feel anxious or prefer not to make use of such services for the time being. On the other hand, we need to keep in mind that, if we take a restaurant scenario, the major issue lies in the fact that every individual has full responsibility of who we meet with on the same table. The measures put in place are there to mitigate and lessen the risks for the other tables.”
When asked about the Chamber’s position with regards to re-opening the airport, Ms Xuereb stated that “We believe the Government needs to be active in discussions which are happening on a European level, to determine how the airport can re-open in a way that would be safe, that all possible appropriate measures are taken so that when it re-opens, it would really be safe.”
“What we do not agree with is that the airport would re-open with a 15-day quarantine period for all incoming passengers, since this would not make sense for the tourism industry. This means that the airport should re-open with other countries at a point in time where the level they would be facing in this epidemic would be similar to our levels. In this way, the risk to receive cases from such countries would be equal to the risk of local Covid cases. The risk of re-opening the airport depends on when and how we choose to re-open,” Ms Xuereb added.