Chamber of SMEs calls on customers to be patient as some retail outlets are set to re-open

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Malta Chamber of SMEs has appealed to consumers to be patient ahead of the reopening of some retail outlets on Monday.

Malta is set to start gradually lifting its coronavirus restrictions from Monday. Some retail outlets will be allowed to re-open under certain conditions while the public will be asked to wear face masks when using public transport and inside the retail outlets. Shops offering non-essential services were shuttered down eight weeks ago as the government had moved to contain the spread of the coronavirus among the population.

During Saturday’s press briefing, the Superintendent of Public Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci said that the wearing of masks in retail outlets will be obligatory. The list will cover essential retail outlets. So far, people could enter essential shops without a mask.

It is also up to the discretion of clothes shops on whether to allow customers to return items. While the use of changing rooms will be prohibited, Prof. Gauci said that businesses can opt to allow their customers to try items at home. However, upon returning the item, the shop will be required to set the items aside for 72 hours.

In a statement on Saturday, the Malta Chamber of SMEs welcomed the government’s decision to start gradually lifting off the restrictions, saying that it was involved in the consultation process and remarked that this was a “positive” sign. The Malta Chamber of SMEs noted that this was only the beginning and the country has a long way ahead before things could return to normal.

The Chamber of SMEs underlined the importance for both businesses and customers alike to adhere to the instructions issued by the health authorities. The new mitigation measures which will come into effect as from Monday include the use of hand sanitizer before entering and upon exiting an outlet. Thermal screening will be carried out on customers prior to entering shopping malls. Shops will only be allowed to let a customer per 10 squared metres of shop floor. People will be allowed to stand 2 meters apart.

The Chamber of SMEs has called on customers to be patient until businesses get everything in place to be able to supply them with the service they were used to in these complicated times. Customers have been asked to cooperate and observe all rules while respecting the staff.

It called on workers to adapt to the new reality and “provide a helping hand” for the business to be operational again.

“Everyone must do his part and with a bit of effort from everyone’s side this is something that can work. These first steps are what the businesses’ economic viability and their own will depend on,” the Chamber of SMEs said.

It also called on the landlords to understand that their effort was required at this stage since it was far from business as usual.

The Chamber of SMEs said that policy makers should ensure that all support measures announced are implemented and extended to the full.

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