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End Covid-19 curfew for business sake, bar owners urge Uhuru


Economy

End Covid-19 curfew for business sake, bar owners urge Uhuru


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President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • They said Tuesday that a continued stay of Covid-19 containment restrictions has ravaged their businesses– forcing bar and restaurants to shut as those still in business shed jobs.
  • The push to ease the night curfew—which was imposed in April last year—comes as monthly infection rates fell to 5,200 cases in February from 12,633 in December, which informed the extension of the nightly curfew to March 12.
  • Deaths have dropped to 93 in February from 198 in December and 488 in November while the positivity rate, positive tests against total tests, dropped to 4.6 per cent last month compared to eight per cent in December and 14.8 per cent in November.

Bar owners and taxi operators have upped pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to lift restrictions on pub operating hours and ease the night curfew in the wake of falling monthly infection rates.

They said Tuesday that a continued stay of Covid-19 containment restrictions has ravaged their businesses– forcing bar and restaurants to shut as those still in business shed jobs.

The push to ease the night curfew—which was imposed in April last year—comes as monthly infection rates fell to 5,200 cases in February from 12,633 in December, which informed the extension of the nightly curfew to March 12.

Deaths have dropped to 93 in February from 198 in December and 488 in November while the positivity rate, positive tests against total tests, dropped to 4.6 per cent last month compared to eight per cent in December and 14.8 per cent in November.

In January, Mr Kenyatta extended the night curfew that runs between 10pm and 4 am as part of measures aimed at taming the spread of Covid-19

“We would like to appeal to His Excellency the President to consider our plight and lift the restrictions on operating hours or reduce the curfew hours, if not do away with it altogether,” said Mike Muthamia, a board member at the Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurants Association of Kenya (Perak).

“If we continue operating in the current circumstances, our various sectors will continue on a dangerous downhill trend that is likely to result in more suffering and joblessness.”

Perak reckons that over 30 per cent of the bars and restaurants that were in operation before the pandemic have shut down completely.

East African Breweries posted a three per cent drop in net sales for its first half ended December as sales were pummelled by the closure of bars. Post-tax profit plunged by a third.

The company, which dominates the regional alcohol market with Tusker beer and Johnny Walker Scotch whisky among other brands, turned to electronic commerce last year to prop up sales.

It set up an online distribution platform where consumers could order drinks, and partnered with firms like Glovo to deliver them straight to their homes.



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