Major events cancelled as coronavirus fears spread
Eric Wainaina @EWainaina
Event organisers and service providers who depend on large crowds to eke out a living by offering related services have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic after the government banned all social gatherings to halt spread.
Players in the industry have had events they had been hired to provide services for completely cancelled or postponed indefinitely, leaving them without business and in some instances, forced to refund down payments.
Most affected are events organisers, caterers, masters of ceremonies, public address providers and commercial photographers, who according to those who spoke to Business Hub yesterday are “completely grounded.”
Normally, they depend on launches, official and community meetings, corporate events, weddings, parties, funerals, dowry payments among others, all of which have been affected by the ban.
Maina Wandere, the director of Wanderjoy Party Ltd, an all-in-one events management and planning company, said since the government announced a ban on social gathering as a part of the measures to halt spread of the virus, he is losing at least 20 events on Saturdays.
The adverse effects, he told Business Hub, have seen the organisation ask all its 500 workers to stay at home but on pay until things normalise because “there is no work for them to do” .
“All general events have been cancelled because those who had booked our services are following the government directive on social gathering.
Since March 15, we have not been holding any events and even those who are approaching us for services, we are turning them back because we do not know for how long the situation will last,” Maina said.
The company deals with creation and development of thematic concepts, decoration, hire of small tents, tables, chairs and catering of mobile toilets, grounds for hire, tent manufacture, and décor for any size of event.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, said because majority of the people had ignored safety protocols outlined on social distancing, the government had been forced to ban gatherings in churches and mosques.
Mutahi also ordered closure of bars, banned weddings and restricted funerals to family members not exceeding 15 as part of measures to stop social gathering but most people have opted to cancel or postpone them.
Esau Kioni who runs Convoy Entertainment who offers sound systems said currently, he is working on refunding monies which had been paid to his company as down payment after the events were put off.
He said, so far, he has lost seven events, which range from weddings, dowry and thanks giving ceremonies.
Daniel Kahuro, who runs Danphotoss Photo Studio which operates in Kiambu and Nairobi said on Saturday, he was scheduled to officer photography and video services for a Kikuyu traditional wedding (ngurario) but it was cancelled.
Kahuro, whose firm is based at Rumathi House in Kiambu Town and which is among the busiest, said even preparations for such events have been halted because committee members cannot sit to strategise.