The government is also not there to make up for every penny that the private sector loses in extraordinary and uncontrollable circumstances. Perhaps there was a delay in announcing this first round of economic measures – which includes tax suspensions and incentives aimed at facilitating teleworking – because the topmost priority in the first few days was to deal with this crisis from a medical angle. The first reactions by the social partners about the measures were largely positive, although they said that more needs to be done. … the Opposition should support the government and reassure businesses that they will weather this crisis like they did in the past, rather than resort to scaremongering.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent 16.3.2020
Malta's measured steps to contain the virus have been well prepared, conveying the right messages to the public of a competent health service, which has the technical facilities and medical expertise to cope.
Editorjal, The Times 17.3.2020
The government’s handling of the Coronavirus situation in Malta thus far must be praised, with the health authorities quickly upping the number of available beds and a flurry of measures taken by the government to attempt to slow down the spread. Indeed its gradual approach in terms of implementing measures is the right way to go, as it gave people a chance to prepare, whereas a quick country-wide lockdown could have had some serious repercussions in the short, medium and long-term. … things have gone as smoothly as one could expect in such trying times. The government introduced mandatory quarantine for everyone coming from abroad, and while this will undoubtedly have an impact on the tourism sector, it was a needed move. While taking the gradual approach has been criticised by some, at least it gave the tourism industry a few extra days to see this coming. … The limiting of large public gatherings was also an important step taken, as this will help, hopefully, prevent a mass spread of the virus. … The most vulnerable in our society have also been thought of, and the government at first limited visiting hours for elderly homes, but then stopped all visits. … On the whole, the government’s reaction to this global problem has been a good one.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent 17.3.2020
It was good to note that non-emergency services at Mater Dei Hospital have been stopped as from last Monday. This is to alleviate the pressure on the health sector. While all emergency situations will be given the attention required, what can wait will have to wait. We know that this will cause some inconvenience to the people concerned, but this is a decision that needed to be taken in the best interest of all. Hearing Robert Abela speak every day on how the government is tackling the Coronavirus spread gives a sense of reassurance.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent 18.3.2020
The Malta Chamber of Commerce and Industry
chamber said it was satisfied with the outcome of the consultation process as
the prime minister’s announcement largely reflected its suggestions. It said it
would follow the situation closely and keep an open channel of communication
with the government, as the situation developed further, possibly necessitating
further adaptation. It lauded the
government’s disposition for dialogue which allowed for a successful outcome to
materialise. “The revised measures are being welcomed within the economic
context, and as matters stand today. They appropriately address the urgent
surgical needs of the hardest-hit sectors.”
The Malta Chamber of SMEs welcomed the positive response to the critical issues that had been raised and the acceptance of its proposals for a number of sectors. … The measures announced on Tuesday should give the necessary lifeline for the coming months for businesses that were desperately in need and would be celebrating the opportunity to be able to retain their workforce. The details of the implementation of such a scheme would be essential to ensure that this opportunity would be as accessible as possible.
In a joint statement, the Gozo Business Chamber and the Gozo Tourism Association welcomed the measures and noted that they took into consideration Gozo’s special circumstances. They said they would continue to work with the government and other stakeholders to continue to monitor the situation at a local and national level so that the financial incentives package would continue to address this situation, which was constantly evolving.
The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association said it believed the new measures would help the tourism and hospitality sector weather the storm. MHRA President Tony Zahra said the association was satisfied that its calls for a review had been heard and that the government had been willing to go back to the drawing board to ensure the welfare of the economy. The announced measures, he said, were the result of long hours of mediation and lobbying with all stakeholders and, above all, a sense of goodwill by all parties involved.
The Association of Catering Establishments said the measures will ensure give employers and employees the necessary peace of mind. It said it had been working hard to safeguard jobs over the past weeks and had managed this due to the collaboration of its members.
The Malta Employers’ Association said that although the boost in the latest measures addressed particular sectors of the economy, this was necessary since not all sectors had been affected to the same extent, with tourism and related sectors being at a standstill.
The General Workers Union said the package should give hope and confidence in the future, which had to be built on employment. The incentives now being given should guarantee a minimum income to those working in the sectors that were most affected, including the hospitality sector, retail and aviation.
The government has ramped up its strategy to fight COVID-19 by moving from a ‘let’s wait and see’ attitude to a shock and awe attack on the social and economic threats of this pandemic. This is what is needed to mitigate the risks of an economic meltdown. Prime Minister Robert Abela defined the most recent fiscal package as “a historic pact with the social partners”. This is no exaggeration, as no previous administration since the war has had to deal with such a massive threat to the cohesion of Maltese society. … The prime minister yesterday sought to project strong leadership and a sense of national effort – that we are all in this together and that businesses and employees are called on to make sacrifices in the collective interest. It was the right message to convey.
Editorjal, The Times 26.3.2020
The third round of economic measures announced by the government on Tuesday are a step in the right direction as far as the ‘critical’ category is concerned.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent 26.3.2020
Slowly but surely, the right decisions are being taken. … Once again, we appeal to the authorities, who are doing a sterling job when it comes to fighting off the Coronavirus, to communicate better with the public, and to the public to be more understanding and have some patience.
Editorjal, The Malta Independent on Sunday 29.3.2020