Dance floors shut as govt. issues stringent COVID-19 guidelines for bars

If you are the type to make a grand entrance on the dance to show fellow revelers how good you have mastered “jerusalema” after getting tipsy, then the latest COVID-19 guidelines will be a disappointment to you.

In a move aimed at restricting infection in bars and pubs during the festive season, the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development has announced among other guidelines, closure of dance floors under the protocols for the Alcoholic Beverages Sector.

The protocols contained in the 2nd Edition of the Guidelines for the safe operation of businesses during the Pandemic will see bar and pub owners implement a raft of health measures before they can be granted a permit to sell alcohol in their premises.

According to the protocols, bar owners are required to shield counters with a Perspex glass to block contact between buyer and seller with the latter prohibited from sitting at the counter.

The 16 general hygiene measures also require operators to keep a daily register of staff members, limit the number of revelers, and limit physical contact between partakers among other measures requirements.

“The guidelines assign roles and responsibilities and the various forms and permits that will be necessary to enable the sale of alcoholic beverages. Our government is very clear in our resolve, but fulfilling becomes much more problematic thinking about the critical next months of the pandemic,” said Betty Maina, CS Trade.

Besides having a valid license, every retailer is also required to set aside a suitable COVID-19 holding/emergency room for any suspected staff case and report to relevant authorities.

“As we move into the festive season and the potential for successful vaccines to deliver a new period in dealing with a pandemic-altered world, there are high expectations. Consumers and society at large are expecting more from businesses. Embracing our responsibilities on exercising utmost care in adherence to the protocols will play to our advantage,”  CS Maina added.

The bar and pub owners will also be required to fill three forms which include an application permit, an inspection checklist, and a permit to operate an alcohol retail establishment during the COVID-19 pandemic which will be reviewed after one year.


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