Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that family vouchers, worth €45 million, will be distributed to families from the 7th of June with the aim of assisting the country’s businesses mostly hit by the pandemic. During a virtual interview on Labour Party stations, Dr Abela said every person over the age of 16 will receive vouchers to the value of 100 euro to be used during the period when economic activity kicks off again. Dr Abela reiterated his appeal for people to continue getting vaccinated against Covid-19 whilst more restrictions are being removed and gave an assurance that the country will have sufficient vaccines for everyone.
The Prime Minister added that details will be announced in the coming days about the second set of vouchers which will start being distributed on 7 June, for families to be able to use them in businesses hard-hit by the pandemic. Dr Abela explained that this measure will mean an investment of 45 million euro. The Prime Minister added that the first week of June will see the re-opening of economic activity in the country.
The Prime Minister spoke about the labour sector and said that through the wages supplement scheme for workers the Government had saved 100,000 jobs, being half the number of workers in the private sector. Dr Abela remarked it had been forecast that some 50,000 workers would end up unemployed because of the pandemic.
Dr Abela stated that the Government had taken a strategic decision 14 months ago, and instead of opting for a policy of austerity as others had done in the past, it had invested in the people’s health. He argued that the Government had invested in the people, and unemployment is presently at the same level as before the pandemic. Dr Abela stated that the Government will be helping everyone.
Referring to the vaccination programme, the Prime Minister reiterated his appeal for people to continue to get vaccinated. He argued that the vaccine is the primary solution for the pandemic to be overcome, even because the country is going to open up to tourism proactively from 1 June. Whilst recognising there may be a youthful element who may be sceptical about the vaccine, Dr Abela said it would be a big mistake if they failed to be vaccinated.
The Prime Minister stated that the green certificate was the main topic at the informal summit of Europan leaders. Dr Abela explained the plan is for the certificate to be given to three bands: those who are vaccinated, those who had a negative test, and those who had been infected and who would have started to gain immunity against it. The Prime Minister indicated that this certificate might be required for various activities, including entertainment activities.
Dr Abela stated that the fast ferry starting on 1 June will bring about a change in travel between the islands, because it will attract more tourism to Gozo. The Prime Minister added he wants Gozo to be carbon neutral with a more ambitious target than that for Malta.
The Prime Minister stated that all this shows the people don’t want a politics of hatred, but rather, a Government that keeps its word and implements projects. Referring to the Nationalist Party, the Prime Minister said it was today reaping the results of politics it had sown. Dr Abela added he wanted a strong economic recovery and reiterated that Government will remain humble with its finger on the people’s pulse.