The Malta Independent 19 May 2022, Thursday

Chamber of SMEs insists all Covid restrictions at childcare centres must be removed

Thursday, 12 May 2022, 14:02 Last update: about 7 days ago

The Malta Chamber of SMEs and the Childcare Centres Providers Association (CCPA) are insisting that the authorities remove Covid restrictions affecting operations in this sector.

To exert pressure, the chamber and association said that with immediate effect none of the usually required visits and checks for this sector by authorities or entities will be accepted in any shape or form.

Only emergency situations, which are to be brought to the attention of the association will be assessed and handled accordingly, the chamber said in a statement.

It should be noted that childcare centres are already bound by limited capacities linked to their license, which safeguards that space inside the centres would be adequate and avoids any type of overcrowding by far.

These centres have had their capacities 'temporarily' amended at the peak of the Covid crises, over two years, and this was never updated or removed. We understand that like every other sector that has been allowed to operate freely, which is more than reasonable in the current circumstances, Childcare Centres are more than justified to demand for progress in this respect.

The current restrictions are resulting into centres not being able to operate according to the thresholds given to them by the licence and this is not just resulting in loss of revenues but also lack of service to parents.

Parents would have selected their preferred centre, many based on previous experience and convenience in terms of proximity, that would need to be kept on waiting lists or only allowed to attend for a very limited amount of time.

Some centres are therefore losing valued customers due to lack of availability or constrained not to give the service they wish due to the still present Covid restrictions. It feels like we are living in a parallel universe where Covid is only a threat in Childcare Centres. Otherwise, life is going on as normal, kids parties and all other activities are taking place as normal, the statement said.

Following our numerous attempts in trying to resolve the issue related to childcare centres still being burdened by Covid regulations we are now unfortunately forced to initiate action since the diplomatic route, patience and reason has clearly failed. The stance to maintain such regulations in place is considered an unjustified and overly burdensome imposition on these businesses. Should the situation not be rectified, action will be escalated in the days to come.

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