The way COVID-19 restrictions for catering establishments are being slightly eased leave much to be desired and does not reflect the country’s reality, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association said on Wednesday.

The association was referring to the announcement on Tuesday easing the rules for establishments that opt to restrict entry to fully vaccinated people. That system will come into effect on October 9. 

Bars, restaurants and social clubs that opt to limit entry to vaccine certificate holders will be allowed to marginally reduce social distancing requirements, stay open for an additional hour and allow customers to get served at bars rather than just tables. 

But for the MHRA, the changes do not go far enough. 

It said that COVID-19 protocols for catering establishments have remained the same for over a year and a half and it was now time to rethink them. 

“It’s time that decisions from policymakers reflect the realities which we are all living, and accordingly bold steps are taken to give hotels and restaurants the necessary space to operate their business as proper businesses,” the lobby group said.

It called upon the government to recognise the success achieved and "drastically reduce or completely remove" the protocols especially for the hospitality sector, considering that practically everyone was now fully vaccinated.

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