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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case MT-2021-10/1804 – measures in Malta

Restaurants & Snack Bars Support Scheme

Country Malta , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 05 March 2021 – 11 April 2021
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial)
Author Luke Anthony Fiorini (University of Malta) and Eurofound
Case created 02 April 2021 (updated 11 May 2021)

Background information

As in other EU members, the COVID-19 pandemic in Malta has been characterised by several 'waves' of cases. The first wave of cases occurred between March and May 2020, and many businesses, including restaurants, were ordered to close. Business units re-opened in May 2020, however cases began to increase again in July 2020, this climb in cases was reversed in November 2020, however cases climbed again in December 2020 and continued to do so up until February 2021. In terms of new cases, active cases and deaths, each of these three wave was worse than the one that preceded it.

Whilst the first wave of cases resulted in the closure of several businesses, such closures were limited between July 2020 and February 2021. Bars were one of the few sectors that were closed during this period, however snack bars and restaurants were allowed to remain open. As COVID-19 cases reached record levels, it was announced that restaurants and snack bars were to close on March 5, 2021; they were however allowed to continue providing take-aways.

In response to this forced closure, the Government announced a state measure to provide this sector with financial support.

Content of measure

Government announced that restaurants and snack bars were to close from March 5 till April 11, 2021. Subsequently, a measure to aid in reducing the financial blow for these organisations was announced. This was announced on March 5, and Government promised that funds would be distributed at the earliest.

Businesses that wished to apply for this measure could do so between March 5 and March 31, 2021 with the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), the organisation administering this measure. Applications could be filled in online.

All catering establishments licensed by the MTA, excluding licensed bars and clubs, which are covered by a separate measure, will receive a €1,000 grant to mitigate the impact of forced restaurant and snack bar closures by the Public Health Authorities.

Use of measure

No information is available on the use of the measure, however it was announced that the cost of the measure was expected to be €2 million.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


No specific involvement of social partners was highlighted when the measure was announced. The implementation of the scheme is by means of an application by the organisation to the MTA. Ongoing dialogue however has been maintained between social partners and Government throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and thus whilst it was not announced, it is likely that discussions with regards to this measure also took place. It is also worth noting that the Association of Catering Establishments (ACE) had released a strongly worded statement the day prior to this scheme being announced, in response to the sudden closure of catering establishments. ACE asked if measures would be announced to compensate for the lost stock catering establishments would now be stuck with. The statement also criticised the closing of restaurants and the lack of enforcement where regular breaches of regulations were commonplace.

Views and reactions

The Association of Catering Establishments (ACE), an employer's association, said the new scheme might prove sufficient for stock losses. Despite this, the association highlighted that there were many other expenses that needed to be covered, highlighting electricity and rent, amongst others.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      I - Accommodation And Food Service Activities I56 Food and beverage service activities

This case is not occupation-specific.


  • 05 March 2021: Restaurants & Snack Bars Support Scheme (
  • 05 March 2021: Restaurants, snack bar owners to get €1,000 to cushion COVID-19 measures (


Eurofound (2021), Restaurants & Snack Bars Support Scheme, case MT-2021-10/1804 (measures in Malta), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.