Restaurant operators have asked the Government to crack down on entertainment spots that fail to adhere to Covid-19 regulations and pleaded with the authorities to reconsider a plan to withdraw all liquor licenses.
The Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) said it had reached out to the Ministry of Health and pledged to cooperate and have its members self-regulate to implement the guidelines.
PERAK patron Patrick Muya said the extension of the curfew to 9 pm should be accompanied by an extension of restaurant opening hours to at least 8 pm.
“We request to be allowed to operate up to at most 8pm, as our operators have their own arrangements for staff accommodation and transport, which means that curfew hours will be observed,” said Mr. Muya.
The chairman of the Nairobi chapter of the Association Patrick Mbogo, said the association had asked the Government to take action against establishments that had failed to abide by the law but opposed suggestions from some quarters that liquor licenses for all establishments be withdrawn.
“As the country worked to contain the spread of Covid-19, the sector has suffered the brunt of the necessary measures to limit the spread of the deadly virus. We have had to close and send our employees home, as we all followed directives by the government,” said Mr. Mbogo.
PERAK said the sector was happy about the recent directives by the President to reopen the economy while ensuring issued guidelines are duly followed but was concerned about establishments that allow their patrons to flout guidelines.
“Earlier this week, we wrote to the Ministry of Health asking for stern action on the establishments that fail to adhere to the guidelines. We took this action as such establishments are a stain on our business and are likely to discourage our patrons from coming back,” said Mr. Mbogo.
The PERAK members who spoke in Nairobi said they had also asked the government to take appropriate action against offenders rather than take drastic measures that would indiscriminately impact a whole sector of the economy.
He added that shutting down the sector would place the lives of its 1.8 million workers at risk as it would deprive them of the opportunity to earn a livelihood, which has been further undermined by the slowdown in economic activities.
PERAK chairperson Ms. Alice Opee said the association is involved in consultations with the Tourism ministry on how to reopen the sector and was happy with the allocation of Sh2 billion for the revival.
Ms. Opee said at least half of the amount should be dedicated to the sector as it plays a significant part in the generation of revenue and the general contribution to economic growth by the service sector.
By Alice Gworo