Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) has criticized destruction of property and investments by police officers during the enforcement of COVID-19 protocols.
The association said that over the past few days, there have been reports of police and county governments’ officials enforcing the latest measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 saying that while there have been commendable efforts to ensure closing times are adhered to, they have also painfully witnessed the destruction of property and investments by police officers in some cases long before the designated closing time which reeks of malice and is clearly an illegality.
Speaking to the media at a Nairobi hotel on Wednesday, Joseph Mbugua Jambo Grill Manager said that stakeholders got together and developed COVID-19 protocols but unfortunately, the regulations that should entrench them in law are yet to be published by the Ministry of Health
Mbugua urged the ministry of health to speed up the publication as the regulations will give much-needed guidance.
“The enforcement of the law does not and should not involve the destruction of property and the assault of innocent Kenyans. It is not the sort of fair administrative action required by the Constitution and we have asked the Inspector-General of Police to advise police officers across the country against that kind of retrogressive behavior,” said Mbugua.
He explained that more than a month ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the easing of restrictions on social gatherings that included the vacation of orders for the closure of bars, restaurants and entertainment spots. The president also instructed the stakeholders in the sector to work with the relevant Government officials for the development of Standard Operating Procedures for the sale of alcoholic drinks.
“The development of the Standard Operating Procedures included input from both private and government agencies and was facilitated by the National Multi-Agency Command Centre,” said Mbugua.
He explained that the Standard Operating Procedures are supposed to guide the county and national government officials as they enforce measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. They are also intended to guide the operators of bars and restaurants to protect the health of patrons.
“There was a reasonable expectation that the Standard Operating Procedures would be published after the presidential address as they would help enhance self-regulation and accountability in compliance with the Covid-19 protocols,” he said.
He highlighted that nevertheless, restaurants have continued to implement general safety measures, such as social distancing, the installation of hygiene kits for sanitizing and washing hands and the wearing of masks.
“We have also encouraged our members to enable adequate ventilation in their establishments as research has shown that the virus spreads most in closed spaces. We urge our members to continue implementing the general safety measures,” he said.
“We urge our members to continue observing measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 and to adhere by the rules on opening and closing hours as outlined by the Government. Only by compliance with the rules can we make a case to be allowed to continue operating. We condemn those that may be breaking the rules and urge the national and county government officials to rein in errant operators,” said Mbugua.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a