The Ministry of Industrialisation Trade and Enterprise Development has published the second edition of the guidelines for operation of alcohol beverages businesses during this period of Covid-19 pandemic.
The updated edition has been developed with the input of the stakeholders including, the Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya (ABAK), Pubs Entertainment and Restaurants’ Association (PERAK) and the Bar Hotels Liquor Traders Association of Kenya (BAHLITA).
Industrialisation Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina, has said that the guidelines contain the standard operating procedures for sale of alcoholic drinks, general hygiene measures, specific operations guidelines, social distancing guidelines, cleaning, disinfection and protective gear guidelines and the screening protocol.
The guidelines also assign roles, responsibilities and the various forms and permits that will be necessary to enable the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Speaking during the release of the guidelines, the CS said the changes requires the alcoholic beverages sector to operate in a way that will limit the spread of the virus and protect businesses in the long term, many of which have suffered the brunt of the pandemic.
“As we release the second edition of these guidelines, news about Covid-19 vaccine trials having efficacy rates of about 90 per cent has also been released. Nevertheless, the widespread use of the vaccine is still far from being a reality in our region, she stated.
The CS at the same time urged traders to act responsibly by applying measures to contain the spread and effects of the disease in their midst, and commended the stakeholders’ support and co-operation in containing the pandemic.
“An abundance of caution should be applied in the business to preserve livelihoods while business managers exercise utmost responsibility. Making progress demands that we ensure that we take the simplest and most effective way to deal with the disease,” Ms Maina said.
She added “It is not the time to give up, we need to join our health response teams in fighting this war. Our best bet is prevention and all of us together as the first line of defence must do our best to contain the spread of the disease and sustain ourselves for the years ahead.”
The guidelines provide the framework against which businesses will develop standard operating procedures for their premises and may need to be reviewed as new evidence about Covid-19 emerges.
Among the measures include designation of staff or teams responsible for the enforcement of compliance with the guidelines in the facilities, social distancing amongst members of staff and customers, maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters, regular hand-washing using running water and soap and use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
Other measures are disinfection of surfaces such as tables, chairs and counters regularly, wearing of face masks in public and work places, avoiding handshakes and hugging, as well as maintaining proper management of waste arising from such as, used masks and gloves.
By Bernadette Khaduli