Most bars in Kilifi County remain closed even after the government lifted the ban on the sale of alcohol and pushed operating hours to 10 pm.
Owners of the social joints have instead embarked on renovating their premises ahead of complete re-opening with most of them having suffered structural deterioration following six months of closure due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Kilifi Bar and Restaurants Owners Association chair Eric Mwashighadi says proprietors could not have renovated the premises earlier as they did not know when they would be allowed to operate though the decision to re-open has been received positively.
“Since we were not sure when the President would give the nod to reopen bars, most of our members did not carry out any renovations, but we have now started carrying out repairs ahead of the full reopening,” he says.
Mwashighadi also said that the bar owners were not as fortunate as the rest of the hotels’ industry who had received grants and soft loans from the government to cushion them.
Mwashigadi says bar owners had committed to follow all the laid down COVID-19 containment measures even as he called on patrons to observe laid down guidelines for their own safety.
The move to reopen bars and entertainment spots was also celebrated by taxi and bodaboda operators who say many of their customers were bar patrons.
Express Taxis Association Chair Joseph Karisa Fondo says the reopening of social joints and restaurants would help jumpstart their businesses as the country struggles to recover from the adverse effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.