Sean Gravina, the chef patron of the popular St Julian’s eatery Crust, has issued a dire warning about the state of the restaurant industry, saying that the stories he has heard “have given me the shivers”.

Taking to Facebook to lament the current lack of indications over when restaurants would be able to reopen, Mr Gravina said that he and many others are “left shocked at the way we are being left alone clutching at straws”.

He said that restaurateurs greatly appreciate the help given to employees, ostensibly in reference to the wage supplement scheme, but emphasised that the industry needs a plan for the way forward.

Restaurants have been closed to in-house dining since 4th March 2021 after record high numbers of daily COVID-19 infections. They were initially closed until 11th April, but the reopening has been pushed further back with no clear indication of a reopening date.

Many other businesses will be reopening on 26th March.

“I can assure you that we are not winning the battle, we are losing a much bigger war and we are leaving businesses in despair with this attitude,” he said.

He continued, “Families and children are suffering because their dads'/moms’ businesses are at an edge,” adding that the help given “is simply not enough”.

Mr Gravina, who has worked at Gordon Ramsay Michelin-starred restaurant Maze, said that restaurants need to open their doors to survive.

“We are asking for a simple roadmap and an opening date with restrictions and enforcement.”

Mr Gravina highlighted the mental and emotional suffering being experienced by business owners in the sector.

“The first time we were forced to close we were at the peak of our economy, this time round we are suffering rainy days in an already perfect storm.”

“Can’t anyone above understand and see what is happening?!” he asked.

“Seriously now! What are we waiting for? To see more businesses close their doors!”

He emphasised the need for the authorities to be proactive and announce a roadmap for the industry, which numbers some 4,000 licensed bars and restaurants with over 20,000 employees, to be able to plan ahead.

He shared a screenshot of a chat with another restaurant owner, who asked to remain anonymous.

“If we don’t open in the beginning of next month I won’t open again,” said the anonymous restaurateur. “I’m not bluffing.”

Mr Gravina said that he believes there is a better, more sustainable way for the future.

“Health is important but our daily bread is also important.”

Main Image:

Sean Gravina, Facebook

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Written By

Robert Fenech

Robert is curious about the connections that make the world work, and takes a particular interest in the confluence of economy, environment and justice. He can also be found moonlighting as a butler for his big black cat.