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Alcohol manufacturers urge the State to extend the hours of operation of bars

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Economy

Alcohol manufacturers urge the State to extend the hours of operation of bars


EABL plans in Ruaraka, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Alcohol manufacturers have asked the government to extend the bars’ operating period by two hours to create more jobs and help companies in the sector recover from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • In a petition to the National Emergency Response Committee (Nerc), the Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya (Abak) said that bars currently only have 2 hours a day to operate as they are open until 7pm and most are open. At 5 pm

  • According to Abak, the bar’s additional hours of operation will allow the alcohol industry to reverse the negative socioeconomic effects of the pandemic and help the government reduce youth unemployment and crime.

Alcohol manufacturers have asked the government to extend the bars’ operating period by two hours to create more jobs and help companies in the sector recover from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a petition to the National Emergency Response Committee (Nerc), the Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya (Abak) said that bars currently only have 2 hours a day to operate as they are open until 7pm and most are open. At 5 pm

According to Abak, the bar’s additional hours of operation will allow the alcohol industry to reverse the negative socioeconomic effects of the pandemic and help the government reduce youth unemployment and crime.

The lobby also said that extending hours of operation will improve access to licensed alcohol and reduce illicit beer consumption.

“Abak notes that the Covid-19 positivity rate in the last week has been on average below five percent, which is the rate recommended by the World Health Organization for consideration in adjusting social measures and health policy in the context of Covid-19, “said Mr. Eric Githua, President of Abak.

The government closed bars in March last year when the pandemic struck to contain the spread of the coronavirus. They were subsequently opened in June, but were allowed to operate only until 7 p.m., instead of the previous 11 p.m.

The Association of Bar, Hotel and Liquor Merchants (Bhalita) had made similar requests to the government in May this year, citing losses that led to the closure of most of its businesses and the loss of jobs.

The government had reviewed the Covid-19 containment protocols in August this year allowing matatus to carry full capacity, but the curfew was extended from dusk to dawn, the ban on public gatherings and the 7 pm deadline for bars.

Professor Omu Anzala, a member of the government advisory team on Covid-19, has urged authorities to remove restrictions as some bars abuse the restrictions and remain open beyond specified hours.

Dr. Gitahi Githinji, CEO of Amref Health Africa, has also advised that the government should ease restrictions and focus on ensuring that there is enough oxygen, health workers, funding and vaccination on a large scale.

The National Emergency Response Committee has not yet responded to the association’s request.

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