CS issues stiff guidelines for restaurants to reopen

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 00:00 |
Eating space at a Nairobi restaurant. PD/FIle

The government has approved guidelines for partial re-opening of eateries and restaurants that will see the facilities operate from 5am to 4pm.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said all staff members showing signs related to the Covid-19 would not be allowed to work in an eatery.

Kagwe made the directives even as the number of people testing positive continued to go up after eight new cases of coronavirus were reported in the country, bringing the total number to 363.

But on a positive note, Kagwe said the country had continued to register tremendous progress in terms of recoveries after eight patients were discharged from hospital, bringing the total number to 114.

The new positive cases include four from Mombasa, three from Nairobi and one each from Kwale and Tanga. They are aged between 13 and 65 years.

The CS said that the two Nairobi cases reported yesterday were from Kibra and the quarantine facility at Kenyatta University.

The Kwale case is from Tanga at Lunga Lunga border while the four in Mombasa are from Mvita.

 On the reopening of restaurants, Kagwe said the facilities would be required to limit the number of customers to four for every 10 square metres space.

Tables in the dining areas must be spaced 1.5 metres apart in the dining area or seat customer groups at least 1.5 metre apart.

Notify ministry

“It will be mandatory for restaurants and eateries to install a contact free thermometer and ensure that every person entering the premises has his/her body temperature taken,” Kagwe said.

Any staff member or customer with temperature above 37.5 degrees shall not be allowed entry into the premises, and the premises shall immediately notify the Ministry of Health through the toll free number 719 for guidance.

Bars will, however, remain closed as the government evaluates the situation although alcohol drinkers will be allowed to purchase drinks from restaurants.

Operators will be required to maintain distance from the back of one chair to the other not less than a metre and guests must face each other from a distance of at least one metre.

The ministry has also directed that alcohol only be sold to customers with a meal in the restaurant.

“Alcohol shall be sold with a meal in the restaurant and only be served to customers waiting to be served a meal, during the meal, or 30 minutes after the meal has ended,” Kagwe directed.

Sanitise surfaces

However, the government has temporarily discontinued self- service of ready to eat foods such as salad bars or buffets.

Customers will have their meals delivered individually to the dining table by appointed restaurant waiters.

“If buffet meals are served then the service shall be by only one person appointed by the respective restaurant,” Kagwe (pictured) directed.

Restaurants have also been asked to ensure quality and safety of food, to rinse and sanitise food contact surfaces, disinfect surfaces, floors and counters.

Operators will be required to install adequate portable running water and accessible washing basins for hand washing purposes, install alcohol based-hand sanitisers at the entrance and exit points.

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