Drafting a COVID recovery – free markets, government intervention, monetarism or bust?
On 7 March Malta woke up to the first case of COVID-19 and a few weeks later, the health authorities reacted efficiently by imposing national wide orders for social distancing and wearing face masks, imposing lockdown of many sectors, the closure of all sea and airports: the latter opened (some say rather hastily) to welcome visitors in mid-July.
Businesses operating within the tourism and designated retail sectors came to a complete standstill. In a panic move to safeguard jobs, the government financed a furlough scheme. Lobbyists assured it will be sufficient to fight the first wave and drive the “R factor” below one. Cavalier attempts were drafted to help firms improve access to credit by issuing free guarantees to retail banks from a State development bank when the former lend to firms in distress.