In a move aimed at restricting Covid-19 infections in pubs and restaurants during the festive season, the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development has proposed new guidelines for sale of alcohol in establishments.
The guidelines which have been developed together with stakeholders, including the Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya (ABAK), Pubs Entertainment and Restaurants Association (PERAK) and the Bar Hotels Liquor Traders Association of Kenya (BAHLITA) are contained in the 2nd Edition of the guidelines for the safe operation of businesses during the Pandemic.
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.
"Owing to uncertainty about the Covid-19 disease, to thrive in the new normal, companies need to make fundamental changes in every line of business," CS Betty Maina said.
They are also required to close dance floors and to have a person enforcing virus containment protocols, general hygiene measures, specific operations guidelines, social distancing guidelines, cleaning, disinfection and protective gear guidelines, and the screening protocol.
An establishment will be required to implement them before they can be granted a permit to sell alcohol in their premises.
"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," she added.
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."
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 pandemic, steps which will be reviewed after one year.
According to the Ministry of Health, the projections of the length of time the virus will be around is unpredictable hence the Trade CS has reiterated that traders are obligated to work in different ways to be fruitful in the face of the pandemic.
Any Alcoholic drink retailers found in breach of Covid-19 rules issued under Public Health Act Cap 242 shall take personal responsibility and consequent enforcement action.