The Association of Catering Establishments (ACE) has run a survey with its members in connection with the current COVID 19 situation.
More than 76 percent of members of ACE have found that the assistance from Malta Enterprise has been praiseworthy albeit not timely as one would wish. However, members appreciated the fact that in spite of the huge amount of applications and objections Malta Enterprise has managed to address issues they had.
Some 72 percent of the respondents to the survey have not applied for any other assistance other than the wage supplement although many would have wished to be in a position to apply for other funds. The lack of applications is mainly attributable to the fact that they do not qualify for such schemes in view of the criteria in such schemes.
Approximately 70 percent of the respondents to the survey said that their bank has been cooperative in the situation. This has changed drastically over the last two months whereby initially many felt the banks were not being sensitive to the situation. Various lamented that they cannot apply to the MDB scheme in view of the way it has been put in place.
65 percent of the respondents are now operating a Delivery Service. All respondents did however, state that this is far from enough for survival, but it assists in partially covering other expenses such as rent.
80 percent of the respondents have retained all their staff which is also thanks to the wage supplement. Some have released certain part time human talent. A small percentage have closed their activity permanently mainly attributable to high rents and landlords not waiving or reducing the rent during closure.
Many are concerned on the re-opening criteria. The main concern that all establishments have expressed is the slow momentum of recovery particularly in view of low consumer spending. Distancing of tables was a huge concern, as this would render opening not feasible.
The large majority of respondents do think that re-opening should be done in a planned manner in order to ensure Health Safety whilst at the same time ensure consumers’ confidence and feasible solutions.