Entities within the services sector coming from news provision, media, ads, marketing public relations, design and videography have signed an open letter calling on Prime Minister Robert Abela to introduce measures to protect the industry as a result of COVID-19 disruptions.
37 entities signed the open letter. On Monday the Government announced the closure of all bars, restaurants, gyms and cinemas to help slow the spread of the virus, reaching a total of 38 cases with two having recovered.
In the letter, the entities acknowledge how fragile their industry is, saying they are used to it. They added however that the latest disruptions are having an immense impact on their survival.
The entities have included a number of suggestions to assist businesses within these sectors, such as direct assistance of at lease 50 per cent of the payroll incurred by the companies for the months of April and May 2020, following which a reassessment will be made for a possible automatic extension.
The letter also included a call for a Government subsidy on bank interest for any business facility used to maintain ongoing business, as well as a direct subsidy to go against current rental expenses.
In their letter which was also addressed to Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri and Parliamentary Secretary Clayton Bartolo, the entities affirmed the desire to do their utmost to assist the country during these difficult times, noting nothing takes precedence over the health and safety of people.
Entities within the retail sector have also penned an open letter to the Prime Minister, pointing out how many have seen sales drop to just 15 per cent of usual activity. Major manufacturing companies are also hosting meetings with the Government in an effort to assess the level of relief which may be provided.