Published On: Wed, Oct 20th, 2021

Kenya hotels decry biased pandemic rules execution

Kenya restaurant operators

Kenya restaurant operators

from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI – RESTAURANT operators have accused the government of selective application of COVID-19 rules as Kenya heads for general polls in 2022.

The operators in the hospitality sector said while their businesses remained restricted since the lockdown in early 2020, political parties were holding rallies, apparently in defiance of the same restrictions.

“The actions of our leaders and elected representatives suggest that the protocols rolled out to limit the spread of Covid-19 are not necessary,” Frank Mbogo, the Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) regional (Nairobi) chairman, argued.

He said over the past month, presidential candidates had been holding rallies and meetings across the country to popularise themselves ahead of the elections.

Michael Muthami, the PERAK national chairman, said while political parties were campaigning untroubled, bar and restaurant operators were suffering harassment at the hands of the police enforce COVID-19 protocols.

“It is manifestly unfair to have one section of society freely breaking the law while another suffers at the hands of the law enforcement,” Muthami said.

He argued the entertainment industry remained the only sector facing restrictions.

“All other sectors are open,” Muthami reiterated.

“Matatus (taxis) are operating at full capacity, supermarkets and other markets are open and churches are open and functioning normally.”

PERAK therefore is advocating for the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, in power since 2013, to consider removing the curfew and allowing them to operate longer hours.

Restaurants are only allowed to operate up to 21h00.

Alcohol manufacturers last week asked the government to consider increasing operating hours for bars by two hours.

More than 15 000 bars and restaurants have been shut since the onset of the pandemic, rendering an estimated 90 000 workers jobless.

Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy and the sixth biggest overall in the continent has recorded 252 066 cases, including 5 224 deaths from COVID-19.

Infection rates have been below 5 percent over the last three weeks.

Increased vaccinations have given hope the pandemic could slow down substantially.

– CAJ News




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