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March 5th, 2021
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Kenya Reopens Bars, Lapses Ban on Alcohol Sale

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive on the opening of bars after a six-month period of shut-down was welcomed with the bubbling sound of beer bottles opening and the rising of foam from the pouring of champagne.

The President also lifted the ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages by ordinary restaurants and eateries.

Speaking during the National COVID-19 Conference held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, the president further amended the closing time for bars, restaurants and eateries from 8 p.m to 10 p.m every day.

He added that their operations shall be with strict adherence to the applicable guidelines and protocols issued by the Health Ministry.

The decision to ease the containment measures was a result of a remarkable improvement in the country’s infection rate of 4.4 per cent.

The World Health Organisation recommends that for a country to re-open, it should have a sustained infection rate of 5 per cent for two weeks.

“The prohibition against the operation of bars and prohibition against sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages by ordinary restaurants and eateries shall stand vacated with effect from September 29, 2020.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta

The ban on the sale of alcohol had led to massive losses of revenue, jobs and also hurt government income, with the taxman losing Sh16.8 billion (US$154.8m) in excise taxes (sin taxes) on products like beer and spirits.

With the resumption of operations, it will be a good time for alcohol giant, East African Breweries to embark on its Sh532 million (US$5m) recovery fund aimed to help pubs and bars recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic when they resume operation.

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