The ACE notes that unfortunately layoffs are already occurring in view of the current situation. ACE appeals to all not to take rushed decisions. Regrettably some are having immediate reactions to communications. We call for informed decisions in order to ensure to save businesses, jobs and the future of our economy.
The Government yesterday gave instructions for bars and restaurants to close. However, most establishments had already closed due to diminished sales. The Government is being very cautious in the circumstances. The ACE had welcomed the measures in the context of what was known up to that date. The situation has changed drastically for the catering industry and the Association has asked for the following additional measures:
1. Transform the existing schemes for business growth to business saving schemes. One may think of Startup Finance 2020, Business Development and Continuity Scheme, B.Start and Startup Advance managed by Malta Enterprise. Other schemes are managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU such as Startup Investment Scheme, SME Growth Scheme, and SME Diversification and Growth Scheme. The situation everyone found themselves in is that all establishments will become start-ups in a few weeks. In this context, we feel that there may be a sufficient argument to use these funds to protect the existing businesses.
2. The Catering Establishments from our discussions yesterday may sustain payments of 2 days a week for the next two months. In some cases, this is not possible.
3. Many parents will not be in a position to go to work in view of school closure. In this context, the Maternity Fund may help in paying the parents in such a situation. You may note that many of these would have previously been working on part-time/casual with the relevant disadvantages in this situation.
4. There is a constant demand for action on rent for both the establishments and their employees. Government may consider exempting from tax, landlords who reduce their rent by at least 50 percent in the case of establishments and by 75 percent in the case of homes.