In response to the added risk of allowing restaurants, outside establishments and lidos to reopen from last Friday, Malta Chamber of Commerce President emphasised that “discipline is everything”.
He noted that there does seem to be less discipline among people than during the early days of the pandemic, commenting that this remains a risk.
“It is essential that we continue to show discipline. Unfortunately, I think the discipline shown at the beginning of the pandemic is being relaxed, and this is a risk. I appeal to all stakeholders to be careful, as if we are not disciplined, we will lose all we worked for,” he said last Thursday on TVM's Xtra.
Perit Xuereb reiterated previous statements when he stressed that until a vaccine is found, maybe in one year’s time or two, ‘normality’ as the world knew it in 2019 cannot be achieved, and thus Malta must now figure out how businesses can continue to operate under this ‘new normal’.
He spoke of the importance of physical health, mental health and economic health. He said that when so many businesses and organisations were shut, the mental health of people began to be impacted as the stress of losing one’s livelihood cannot be overstated. He said that ultimately, the money people earn to enjoy a good quality of life is also important.
Perit Xuereb said that it is crucial to continue protecting the most vulnerable among society, as those people have the biggest chances of falling seriously ill.
He shared that in his personal life, two family members are frontline workers, and he understands well the risks of opening up the country and the impact on such workers.
Perit Xuereb said it is important for businesses to distinguish between crisis management and crisis leadership, saying:
“In this moment, we can panic and there is what to panic about, but if we want to be leaders we need to understand the signs of the time,” he said.
Perit Xuereb called for the safeguarding of industries that continue to be profitable, noting that manufacturing has performed particularly well in this regard.
He highlighted that tourism and retail continue to be the hardest hit, together with the large volume of ancillary businesses which feed into the two sectors.