Employers have called for a ban on mass events, including parties and feast marches, amid a surge in new cases of COVID-19.

The Malta Employers Association (MEA) said authorising such events was "ridiculous" and risked reversing all the gains made against the coronavirus pandemic. 

Malta recorded 14 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the largest one-day increase for weeks. Several of the new cases over the last few days have been linked to a large hotel party held earlier this month, prompting widespread calls for a ban. 

"Besides the obvious impact and dangers posed to public health, many employers and employees have made tremendous sacrifices in the battle against COVID - lost productivity, reduced pay packet, working flexibly, mandatory quarantine for vulnerable groups among others," the MEA said on Saturday, warning that many companies would not survive a second wave of infections.

"Hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money which have been used to keep the economy afloat and reduce the number of affected persons will
have been spent in vain. If schools remain closed in September due to the virus, there will be chaos in the labour market."

The association said the tourism industry itself would also lose out from a sustained spike in cases, as recovery would take much longer than previously anticipated. 

"We would have capriciously given up the advantage of promoting ourselves as a safe and family friendly destination to appease the myopic interests of a few operators," it said.

The MEA insisted the government could not claim that employer bodies were applying pressure for mass events to go ahead as most employers were against "unnecessary risks".

It called for an immediate ban to mass events, warning of "social and economic tragedy" if action were not taken.

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