Fabian Demicoli

Public health measures welcome, economic measure are required with great urgency – SME Chamber

The Malta Chamber of SMEs in a Press Release confirmed its agreement with the public health measures announced earlier today.

The SME Chamber stated that many businesses in the non-essential category have themselves decided to close in the past week due to lack of business and also unjustified risk for their staff and spreading further the disease. Malta has now effectively made another decisive move towards the lockdown.

The Malta Chamber of SMEs thanked the health authorities as well as all the essential private sector operators. Pharmacies, operators in the food chain and other front-liners are working tirelessly to continue supplying their service in this time of need. We emphasize with the public and private sector about observing public health direction so that this time of sacrifice reaches the desired objectives.

Greater clarity is required from the authorities about the exact list of operations that will be allowed to continue. The SME Chamber said that they are in receipt of many queries asking about further details on the latest announcements.

These include dispensing  opticians, queries related to working behind closed doors, deliveries that were planned as well as repair services. The SME Chamber calls on the government to publish the full information that would be required with such announcements since immediate decisions affecting Human Resources would need to be taken.

Unfortunately these announcements were not accompanied by the necessary economic support measures, the SME Chamber insisted. The UK government has just made such announcements a few days ago and these were accompanied by strong measures that avoided much pressure on enterprises and their employees. The UK government in-fact announced wage subsidies covering 80% of wages up to €2,700 a month per worker. Similarly the Danish government is committed to cover 75% of workers’ salaries, up to €3000 for the coming months.

The economic pressures are extremely worrying and an emergency response mechanism is needed today. Employers and their employees are trying to push through impossible situations that are affecting their day-to-day life and mental health, hoping for a breakthrough in discussions. A message of economic hope is necessary for our country and community not to go into a further deteriorating economic state.

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