Bar and restaurant owners target to absorb at least 90,000 people who lost their jobs after the lifting of curfew on Wednesday.
The Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK) lauded the decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta to lift dusk to down curfew hours which were deployed on March 27, 2020 after the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, terming it the right path towards hospitality industry recovery.
“The hospitality sector has gone through one of the darkest periods in the history of Kenya,” said Frank Mbogo, PERAK-Nairobi Chairman.
The lobby group now says following the directive by Ministry of Health that bar and restaurants operate according to their license obligations.
“Allowing people to resume business is the first step towards attaining the economic prosperity that we all crave. We hope that with time, the 15,000 bars that were forced to shut down will revive or come back in another form and the sector will thrive enough to get the more than 90,000 people who lost jobs back at work,” said Mbogo.
According to PERAK, the combined loss of revenue, jobs and livelihoods in the sector during the pandemic amounts to at least Kshs. 150 billion.
However, stakeholder in the industry have pledged to follow the protocols in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and have sought partnership with health ministry to have their establishments become vaccination centres following the reopening.
“Bars are gathering points for people and like churches, can become one of the places where people can be sure to access vaccines regularly,” said Boniface Gachoka, the secretary of the Bar, Hotel and Liquor Traders Association (BHLTA).
He added, “Our wish, which we can all help fulfill, is to have operations going back to normal and to never have again to shut down. Operators will continue to abide by the Bar Kumi idea, which is a self-regulating mechanism to ensure adherence to the protocols.”