from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – OWNERS of bars, hotels and liquor stores have protested against the proposal by authorities to ban the sale of alcohol to sit-in customers as a measure to limit the spread of coronavirus in Kenya.
The Ministry of Health has proposed the prohibition.
The Bar Owners Association has denounced the proposal arguing it would lead to an increase in the consumption of illicit alcohol.
This has gone up with the closure of bars for the last four months, the association reported.
The association also said the roadside declarations by county government officials and police banning the sale of alcohol were illegal and would result in intimidation and extortion.
“Banning the sale of alcohol effectively paves the way for a number of social ills,” Boniface Gachoka, Secretary-General of the National Bar Owners Association, said.
“These are an increase in the consumption of illicit alcohol, encouraging drinkers to take alcohol home, and the withdrawal of employment for the millions of workers employed by the sector,” Gachoka added.
He said banning the sale of alcohol would further worsen the unemployment caused by the closure of bars, whose effect extends to sorghum farmers and the bar workers.
Bars have remained closed since early April but the Government has issued protocols for reopening of eateries and restaurants and allowed the sale of alcohol to patrons who are buying food as well.
Simon Njoroge, Chairman of the Bar Owners Association, said they had noted an increase in the consumption of illicit brews to a worse level than 2015, when President Uhuru Kenyatta formed a multi-agency taskforce to stop its consumption.
“The increase has taken a more dangerous form as we now have reports of people taking hand sanitiser,” Njoroge said.
The association said it had written to the Ministry of Health over the proposed regulations.
Kenya has confirmed 260 deaths from 14 805 COVID-19 cases.
– CAJ News