Bars advertising as restaurants to avoid curfew – sources

Updated 11:35 AM

Minister denies MTA issuing temporary restaurant licences

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Bars and clubs may now be constrained to close at 11pm in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19, but it seems that a number have found a way to get around this regulation: presenting themselves as restaurants.

Newsbook.com.mt is reliably informed of at least one club in the St Julians area advertising itself as a restaurant. The same source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that it appeared that this establishment was not alone in doing so, and that the police were finding enforcement difficult as a result.

The source spoke up after Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi alleged that the Malta Tourism Authority was going as far as granting temporary restaurant permits to bars to allow them to avoid the curfew. The MP had challenged anyone who did not believe him to pay a visit to St Julians.

https://www.facebook.com/jason.azzopardi.315/posts/1469327379928498

The claim was denied by Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli when she was asked to comment by Newsbook.com.mt, stating that according to the information she had at hand, Azzopardi’s claim was completely wrong.

But our source was not the only one to complain that the regulations were not being applied uniformly, with Pierre Mifsud, who owns the New 31 Bar in Birkirkara bar, lamenting on Facebook that the authorities were being selective in their enforcement.

“This rule only applies to smaller venues: all the bars from the old stadium in Gżira to the Sliema ferries remain open and packed,” he maintained. At the same time, Mifsud said, his own bar was frequently being subjected to spot checks which, he added, had found no breach of regulations.

Mifsud also published a photo of large crowds congregating in the Gżira-Sliema promenade.