Alcohol Manufacturers Petition the Health Ministry to Publish Covid-19 Bar Regulations
Kevin Namunwa  |  Nov 3, 2020

Bars and clubs were reopened in September after they had been closed in March. However, alcohol manufacturers and importers claim that the Ministry of Health has not yet published guidelines on consumption of beer in bars.

Through their lobby, Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (Abak), the firms petitioned the Health ministry to publish the rules based on the standards operating procedures agreed ahead of reopening bars in September.

In the president’s announcement of the reopening of bars, the entertainment joints were required to cut sitting capacity by half under social distance rules, have contact free-bill payment, restrict drinking at the counters and some were to instil protection screens to curb spread of Covid-19.

However, since reopening of bars on September 28, the Health ministry is yet to publish rules to guide sit-down drinking in public places.

This comes amid a spike in Covid-19 cases that has seen infections jump 45 per cent to 56,601 over the past month while deaths have increased by 42 per cent to 1,027 in the same period.

“It was expected that the standards operating procedures would be published after the presidential address to allow…compliance with Covid rules within bars and pubs. However, the procedures are yet to be published,” Abak said in a letter to the Health ministry.

“In the absence of the protocols, Abak has observed unsafe socialising behaviour by a few establishments that are operating with little regard to the Covid-19 guidelines.”

Abak reckons that 20 per cent of the bars remains shut due to outstanding rent and lack of cash.

EABL had announced a Ksh 532 million ($5 million) recovery fund to help pubs and bars resume trade post-lockdown.

EABL says the recovery plan will offer targeted support like purchasing equipment such as hygiene kits, permanent sanitiser dispenser units, hand sanitisers, masks, and protection screens for bars that cannot maintain the one metre social distance.

The firm will offer the bars hardware and not cash through the recovery plan that comes in form of a free grant.

President Uhuru Kenyatta will today meet governors to review measures aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic.

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