Malta’s government says it will issue vouchers worth 100 euros ($A157) to every resident aged over 16 to kick-start consumer spending after the COVID-19 emergency.
While many European governments are seeking to restore consumer confidence through various incentives, Malta stands out in distributing cash vouchers.
Following a similar scheme on the island last summer, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said vouchers worth 60 euros will be available to spend in restaurants and tourist establishments and 40 euros for shops and other services.
About 25,000 businesses are eligible to receive payment by vouchers and the government will spend a total of 50 million euros.
“This is a measure which will affect everyone, businesses, families and workers,” Prime Minister Robert Abela told a news conference.
As Malta also seeks to drive tourist spending, it last month said it would pay tourists up to 200 euros each if they stay at least three days on the Mediterranean island.
The rate depends on the class of hotel they stay at.
Malta’s shops and non-essential services reopened last month and the country appears to have the virus under control.
Its infection and death rate is the lowest in the European Union, data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) indicated on Thursday.
The country’s 14-day cases per 100,000 inhabitants rate stands at 25.26.
The island recorded just two new coronavirus cases on Thursday and new cases have been in single figures for two weeks.
The island also has the highest vaccination rate in Europe, with 67 per cent of those eligible for the vaccine given at least one dose, the ECDC data showed.